Definition of stack in English:

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Pronunciation: /stak/


1A pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged: a stack of boxes
More example sentences
  • ‘Come in,’ she called absently, slaving over a stack of papers neatly arranged on her desk.
  • Emanuelle frowned as she traced her fingers down the stack of folders neatly piled inside.
  • ‘These should be your size,’ she handed him a stack of neatly folded clothes.
heap, pile, mound, mountain, pyramid, tower
1.1 (a stack of/stacks of) informal A large quantity of something: there’s stacks of work for me now
More example sentences
  • Kearsley and Horwich piled up a stack of runs in an entertaining draw.
  • I still have plenty to do, and a stack of emails that are waiting for replies, but they will have to wait until later in the week.
  • Yet a growing stack of academic research this year suggests that playing Doom or Half-Life can sharpen your physical reactions and improve your social life.
1.2A rectangular or cylindrical pile of hay or straw or of grain in sheaf.
Example sentences
  • From another hole came the straw that was again piled into a stack.
  • Our only pickup truck was used to operate the overshot stacker that piled the hay into stacks.
  • We used to build stacks mainly in the stackyard by the farm buildings but occasionally we built some in the field.
haystack, rick, hayrick, mow, shock, haycock
dated cock
1.3A vertical arrangement of stereo or guitar amplification equipment.
Example sentences
  • Top-end CPUs do note readily make for a slimline, quiet-running unit to sit within a hi-fi stack.
  • A new venue meant yet another sound-check to make sure that the reassembled stacks of amplifiers and speakers had been matched to the concert hall's acoustics.
  • The hearing of both Ozzy Osbourne and The Who guitarist Peter Townshend was damaged by prolonged exposure to the high wattage blare from stacks of amplifiers.
1.4A number of aircraft flying in circles at different altitudes around the same point while waiting for permission to land at an airport.
Example sentences
  • They thought the stacks of green aircraft belonged to Army fliers.
  • We lost our situational awareness of the other aircraft in the overhead stack.
  • The 10 aircraft made an impressive sight as they hovered in a stack above HMAS Albatross.
1.5A pyramidal group of rifles.
Example sentences
  • Coronach if you get 9 more rifles you could set up a table in your living room where each leg is a rifle stack.
  • I recall M/Sgt Widner, a high school ROTC instructor, demonstrating that this arrangement, when properly done on a grass parade field, was strong enough that a soldier could stand (one legged) on the stack.
  • This won't be as sturdy as a stack made by three M1s or three '03s.
1.6 (the stacks) Units of shelving in part of a library, used to store books compactly.
Example sentences
  • Perhaps it took that long to declare the book lost from the stacks of the Geneva Public Library District.
  • They're the smell of yellowed book pages in the stacks of an abandoned library.
  • People will want to live in a coffee shop, talking to people about books, not in the stacks at the library or the warehouse at Amazon.
1.7 Computing A set of storage locations that store data in such a way that the most recently stored item is the first to be retrieved.
Example sentences
  • The search engines are virtual librarians who take your order and retrieve documents from the stacks in less time than it takes your browser to load the next page.
  • The gateway holds the hardware interfaces and software protocol stacks to get all the various technologies talking nicely to one another.
  • Within the protocol stack, SSL / TLS is situated underneath the application layer.
2A chimney, especially one on a factory, or a vertical exhaust pipe on a vehicle.
Example sentences
  • In addition, windows surrounding the cab increase visibility, and exhaust stacks are in line with the cab post, lending to a quieter engine.
  • Cameron hesitated as he took in the roof, his vision blocked by other staircase entries, chimneys and vent stacks.
  • A downdraft over the stack is causing the sewer gas to be more noticeable.
chimney, smokestack, funnel, exhaust pipe
2.1 (also sea stack) A column of rock standing in the sea, remaining after erosion of cliffs.
Example sentences
  • A team of scientists investigating ruins atop a remote sea stack in the Western Isles this summer have been using a Troylean sling to get to the remains of a medieval castle.
  • The Old Man of Stoer comes into view shortly after this, and you follow the cliff edge round to the right and then down steeply to look over the sea stack.
  • The sea stack of Am Buachaille stands to the south end of the bay although it is best viewed from the middle or the northern end.


[with object]
1Arrange (a number of things) in a pile, typically a neat one: the books had been stacked up in three piles she stood up, beginning to stack the plates
More example sentences
  • A desk spanned the width of the room, and there were files folders and CDs stacked in neat piles on the desk, and a computer built into it.
  • I'd stack hatboxes covered in floral-print paper in a corner.
  • The banker can stack the appropriate number of chips on top of the puck to indicate how many consecutive wins he has.
heap (up), pile (up), make a heap/pile/stack of;
assemble, put together, collect, hoard, store, stockpile
1.1Fill or cover (a place or surface) with piles of things, typically neat ones: he spent most of the time stacking shelves
More example sentences
  • Compared to Watkins, Atlantis is a bit grubby and poorly lit and the place is stacked with arcane junk.
  • Every surface is stacked with knick-knacks; every chair piled with quilts.
  • If you want a knot garden in your own space, stack the central spaces in the middle of your evergreen outline now with as many herbaceous perennials as you can.
load, fill (up), lade, pack, charge, stuff, cram;
1.2Cause (an aircraft) to fly in circles while waiting for permission to land at an airport: I hope we aren’t stacked for hours over Kennedy
More example sentences
  • The claimant soon became aware of the noise from aircraft stacking over Mayfield.
  • Lines had to be shared with people dialling up, ringing off and basically stacking like planes outside Heathrow airport.
  • And you can see that the controllers are just stacking them up all along the East Coast here and then sending them around.
2Shuffle or arrange (a deck of cards) dishonestly so as to gain an unfair advantage.
Example sentences
  • I believed that Meg and Sarah were in real danger at the beginning; by the second half of the movie, I felt that the cards were stacked so unfavorably against the robbers so as to negate the danger.
  • Or are the cards always stacked in favour of one group?
  • Your focus on ‘yields’ of individual commodities, rather than total output, unfairly stacks the deck by ignoring a large measure of what smaller farms produce.
2.1 (be stacked against/in favor of) Used to refer to a situation that is such that an unfavorable or a favorable outcome is overwhelmingly likely: the odds were stacked against Fiji in the World Cup they found the courts stacked in favor of timber interests
More example sentences
  • While the odds were stacked against them, the trio were able to establish contact with Wellington-based Maritime Radio which relayed their plight to Bay of Plenty Coastguard.
  • Frye's turnout surprised San Diego voters partly because, from a practical standpoint, the odds were stacked against her.
  • Wolff Reik, cloning expert at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, said even if the woman became pregnant the odds were stacked against the baby.
3 [no object] (In snowboarding) fall over.
Example sentences
  • The group I ride with all got a shock last year when our friend stacked it, came down on his head and spent the next 6 months in hospital.
  • Then on his very first session on a his brand-new recently arrived real deal snowboard, he stacked it and broke both legs just below the knee, ouch.


stack arms

Place a number of rifles with their butts on the ground and the muzzles together.
Example sentences
  • Insert the muzzle of the other two rifles in there and stack arms.
  • Several times in the night orders were given to fall into line and the boys, expecting to advance, would examine their guns, see that everything was in shape for action, then be ordered to stack arms and lie down again.
  • About 2 a. m., after passing through a valley amid darkness which was greatly increased by a dense wood, the troops were allowed to file off, stack arms, and bivouac on a slope, and around a knoll upon which some of our cavalrymen had been stationed on picket duty.

Phrasal verbs

stack up

1 (or stack something up) Form or cause to form a large quantity; build up: cars stack up behind every bus, while passengers stand in line to pay fares
More example sentences
  • So I guess it counts for something then; it may not help stack the funds up in the bank account but at least the pressure can come off.
  • In times of extreme deadline crisis, when deadlines are stacked up all around the office like unexploded ordinance, lack of attention to personal hygiene is a professional survival mechanism.
  • It's not even the rainy season - or what we used to qualify as the rainy season, as if we knew anything about it in the first place - but the storms are stacked up out over the Pacific like pool balls on a billiard table and not a pocket in sight.
2North American informal Measure up; compare: our rural schools stack up well against their urban counterparts
More example sentences
  • Find out how your income stacks up compared to the rest of the world.
  • How does your pay stack up… when compared to other facility professionals?
  • I wonder how other state champs would stack up if measured the same way!
2.1 [usually with negative] Make sense; correspond to reality: to blame the debacle on the antics of a rogue trader is not credible—it doesn’t stack up
More example sentences
  • Sorry but what you said just doesn't stack up with the odds.
  • Any way you look at it, the statement just doesn't stack up.



Example sentences
  • While serving in the Aleutian Islands, he became fascinated with the lightweight, stackable, easy-to-assemble huts.
  • The cells are stackable flat plates, each one producing about one volt, the size of the stack determining the power output.
  • A rugged Lexan outer case protects against scratches and high temperatures, can be used either horizontally or vertically, has rubber feet on all sides and is stackable.


Pronunciation: /ˈstakər/
Example sentences
  • The company said managerial cost-cutting in the stores would be re-invested in roles such as checkout operators and shelf stackers which directly affect customers.
  • A hospital porter, a call centre operator, supermarket shelf stackers and a factory worker, they meet regularly in an all night cafe to kill time.
  • At present our Frontline Training Framework covers all roles, from shelf stackers through to store managers.


Middle English: from Old Norse stakkr 'haystack', of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with stack

aback, alack, attack, back, black, brack, clack, claque, crack, Dirac, drack, flack, flak, hack, jack, Kazakh, knack, lack, lakh, mac, mach, Nagorno-Karabakh, pack, pitchblack, plaque, quack, rack, sac, sack, shack, shellac, slack, smack, snack, tach, tack, thwack, track, vac, wack, whack, wrack, yak, Zack

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stack

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