/ paɪl; NAmE / noun , verb
—see also piles
[ C ] a number of things that have been placed on top of each other :
a pile of books / clothes / bricks
He arranged the documents in neat piles.
She looked in horror at the mounting pile of letters on her desk.
[ C ] a mass of sth that is high in the middle and wider at the bottom than at the top
SYN heap :
a pile of sand
piles of dirty washing
[ C , usually pl. ] pile of sth ( informal ) a lot of sth :
I have got piles of work to do.
He walked out leaving a pile of debts behind him.
[ U , sing. ] the short threads, pieces of wool, etc. that form the soft surface of carpets and some types of cloth such as velvet :
a deep-pile carpet
[ C ] a large wooden, metal or stone post that is fixed into the ground and used to support a building, bridge, etc.
[ C ] ( formal or humorous ) a large impressive building
- (at the) bottom / top of the pile
- make a / your pile
[ vn ] pile sth (up) to put things one on top of another; to form a pile :
She piled the boxes one on top of the other .
The clothes were piled high on the chair.
Snow was piled up against the door.
[ vn + adv. / prep. ] pile A in(to) / on(to) B | pile B with A to put sth on / into sth; to load sth with sth :
The sofa was piled high with cushions.
She piled everything into her suitcase.
He piled as much food as he could onto his plate.
He piled his plate with as much food as he could.
—see also stockpile
[ v + adv. / prep. ] ( informal ) ( of a number of people ) to go somewhere quickly without order or control :
The coach finally arrived and we all piled on.
- pile on the agony / gloom
- pile on
- pile sth on
- pile sth on(to) sb
- pile up
verb and noun senses 1 to 3 noun sense 6 late Middle English : from Old French , from Latin pila pillar, pier.
noun sense 5 Old English pīl dart, arrow , also pointed stake , of Germanic origin ; related to Dutch pijl and German Pfeil , from Latin pilum (heavy) javelin.
noun sense 4 Middle English (in the sense downy feather ): from Latin pilus hair. The current sense dates from the mid 16th cent.