Definition of pile noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//paɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//paɪl//
    see also piles Types of home
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  1. 1  [countable] 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.
  2. 2  [countable] a mass of something that is high in the middle and wider at the bottom than at the top synonym heap a pile of sand piles of dirty washing
  3. 3  [countable, usually plural] pile of something (informal) a lot of something I have got piles of work to do. He walked out leaving a pile of debts behind him.
  4. 4[uncountable, singular] 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 Corduroy is the poor man’s velvet; its pile is made of cotton rather than silk or satin.
  5. 5[countable] a large wooden, metal or stone post that is fixed into the ground and used to support a building, bridge, etc.
  6. 6[countable] (formal or humorous) a large impressive building a Victorian pile built to house the mentally ill the ancestral pile See related entries: Types of home
  7. Word Originnoun 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.Extra examples He dumped a pile of dirty clothes onto the floor. He was busy behind a pile of papers on his desk. I grabbed a shirt from the top of the pile. I had piles of work to do. I leafed through the pile of documents until I found the one I wanted. I pulled my diary from beneath a pile of files. I put the letter in the envelope and placed it on the pile. I sorted the clothes into two piles. I sorted through the pile of documents until I found it. I’ve put the books into three separate piles. Just add that application to the pile. She closed the magazine and threw it back on the pile. The clothes were in a pile on the floor. The government is doing little to help those on the bottom of the social pile. The house was reduced to a pile of rubble. The money lay amid a pile of unopened letters. a pile of books He arranged the documents into neat piles. He was spreading a small pile of manure around the strawberry plants. I found it in a pile of papers on his desk. She was sorting the books into piles. The body was hidden under a pile of leaves. There was a pile of dirty washing on the floor.Idioms
    (at the) bottom/top of the pile
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    in the least/most important position in a group of people or things It’s been 20 years since a British player was top of the pile.
    (informal) to make a lot of money The family made its pile from oil. I bet they made an absolute pile out of the deal.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pile