Meaning of PILE in English


I. pile 1 S2 /paɪl/ BrE AmE noun

[ Sense 1-6, 9: Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: Latin pila ; ⇨ ↑ pillar ]

[ Sense 7: Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: pilus 'hair' ]

[ Sense 8: Language: Old English ; Origin: pil , from Latin pilum 'javelin' ]

[ Sense 10: Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: pila 'ball' ]

1 . ARRANGEMENT OF THINGS [countable] a group of several things of the same type that are put on top of each other SYN stack

pile of

His mother came in carrying a pile of ironing in her arms.

Flora shuffled through a pile of magazines.

put something in/into a pile

She tidied up the books and put them in neat piles.

He balanced the plate on the top of a pile of books.

2 . LARGE AMOUNT [countable] a large amount of something arranged in a shape that looks like a small hill

pile of

piles of melting snow

All that remained of the old house was a pile of rubble.

Sophie stooped to throw another branch on the pile.

He began to sweep the pieces of glass into a pile.

3 . a pile of something ( also piles of something ) informal a lot of something:

We’ve had piles of letters from viewers.

another pile of directives from the EU

4 . the bottom of the pile British English the weakest or least important position in a society or organization:

I soon discovered I was at the bottom of the pile in the office hierarchy.

She always puts her own needs to the bottom of the pile.

5 . the top of the pile British English the best or highest position in a society or organization:

It’s been 20 years since a British tennis player was at the top of the pile.

6 . HOUSE [countable] a very large old house:

They’ve just bought an 18th-century pile in Surrey.

7 . MATERIAL [uncountable and countable] the soft surface of short threads on a ↑ carpet or some types of cloth

thick/deep pile

Her feet sank into the thick pile of the rug.

a deep pile carpet

⇨ ↑ nap 1 (2)

8 . POST [countable] technical a heavy wooden, stone, or metal post, used to support something heavy

9 . make a/your pile informal to make a lot of money:

He had made his pile in the wholesale business.

10 . piles [plural] painfully swollen ↑ blood vessel s near a person’s ↑ anus

• • •


▪ pile a group of things of the same type that are put on top of each other:

a huge pile of cardboard boxes

▪ stack a neat pile of things of the same type:

There were stacks of books on the floor.

▪ heap a large messy pile of things:

All his clothes were in a heap on the floor.

▪ mound a pile of something with a round shape:

a small mound of rice on the plate

▪ mountain a very large pile of something with a round shape:

a mountain of dirty laundry waiting to be washed

II. pile 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

1 . [always + adverb/preposition] to fill a place or container or cover a surface with a large amount of things

pile something into/onto etc something

He piled bread and milk into his basket.

Melissa piled spaghetti onto her plate.

be piled with something

a chair piled with velvet cushions

The room was piled high with boxes (=filled with a lot of boxes) .

2 . ( also pile up ) to arrange things in a pile:

Ma stacked the cups and piled the plates.

pile something on/onto something

She brushed her hair and piled it carefully on top of her head.

pile in ( also pile into something ) phrasal verb

if people pile in, they get into a vehicle very quickly:

Pierre came to pick them up, and they all piled in.

pile something ↔ on phrasal verb informal

1 . pile it on/pile on the drama to talk about something in a way that makes it seem much worse than it really is SYN exaggerate :

I know I’m piling it on a bit, but there is a serious point to be made.

2 . pile on the pressure/agony to show that you are much better than your opponent in a game:

England piled on the pressure from the start.

3 . pile on the pounds to gain a lot of body weight:

She slimmed down a couple of years ago but has piled on the pounds again.

pile out phrasal verb

if people pile out, they leave a place or get out of a vehicle quickly and in a disorganized way:

Edward parked by the river and we all piled out.

pile up phrasal verb

1 . to increase in quantity or amount, in a way that is difficult to manage:

It wasn’t long before the debts were piling up.

The traffic starts piling up around this time.

The work has a tendency to pile up if I’m not careful.

2 . pile something ↔ up to arrange things in a pile:

tiny doughnuts piled up in a dish

⇨ ↑ pile-up

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.