Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A quantity of objects stacked or thrown together in a heap. See Synonyms at heap.
  • n. Informal A large accumulation or quantity: a pile of trouble.
  • n. Slang A large sum of money; a fortune: made their pile in the commodities market.
  • n. A funeral pyre.
  • n. A very large building or complex of buildings.
  • n. A nuclear reactor.
  • n. A voltaic pile.
  • transitive v. To place or lay in or as if in a pile or heap: piled books onto the table.
  • transitive v. To load (something) with a heap or pile: piled the table with books.
  • transitive v. To heap (something) in abundance: piled potato salad onto the plate.
  • intransitive v. To form a heap or pile.
  • intransitive v. To move in, out, or forward in a disorderly mass or group: pile into a bus; pile out of a car.
  • pile up To accumulate.
  • pile up Informal To undergo a serious vehicular collision.
  • n. A heavy beam of timber, concrete, or steel, driven into the earth as a foundation or support for a structure.
  • n. Heraldry A wedge-shaped charge pointing downward.
  • n. A Roman javelin.
  • transitive v. To drive piles into.
  • transitive v. To support with piles.
  • n. Cut or uncut loops of yarn forming the surface of certain fabrics, such as velvet, plush, and carpeting.
  • n. The surface so formed.
  • n. Soft fine hair, fur, or wool.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dart; an arrow.
  • n. The head of an arrow or spear.
  • n. A large stake, or piece of pointed timber, steel etc., driven into the earth or sea-bed for the support of a building, a pier, or other superstructure, or to form a cofferdam, etc.
  • n. One of the ordinaries or subordinaries having the form of a wedge, usually placed palewise, with the broadest end uppermost.
  • v. To drive piles into; to fill with piles; to strengthen with piles.
  • n. A hemorrhoid.
  • n. A mass of things heaped together; a heap.
  • n. A group or list of related items up for consideration, especially in some kind of selection process.
  • n. A mass formed in layers; as, a pile of shot.
  • n. A funeral pile; a pyre.
  • n. A large building, or mass of buildings.
  • n. A bundle of pieces of wrought iron to be worked over into bars or other shapes by rolling or hammering at a welding heat; a fagot.
  • n. A vertical series of alternate disks of two dissimilar metals, as copper and zinc, laid up with disks of cloth or paper moistened with acid water between them, for producing a current of electricity; — commonly called Volta’s pile, voltaic pile, or galvanic pile.
  • n. The reverse (or tails) of a coin.
  • n. A list or league
  • v. To lay or throw into a pile or heap; to heap up; to collect into a mass; to accumulate; to amass; — often with up; as, to pile up wood.
  • v. To cover with heaps; or in great abundance; to fill or overfill; to load.
  • v. To add something to a great number.
  • v. (of vehicles) To create a hold-up.
  • n. Hair, especially when very fine or short; the fine underfur of certain animals. (Formerly countable, now treated as a collective singular.)
  • n. The raised hairs, loops or strands of a fabric; to nap of a cloth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hair; hence, the fiber of wool, cotton, and the like; also, the nap when thick or heavy, as of carpeting and velvet.
  • n. A covering of hair or fur.
  • n. The head of an arrow or spear.
  • n. A large stake, or piece of timber, pointed and driven into the earth, as at the bottom of a river, or in a harbor where the ground is soft, for the support of a building, a pier, or other superstructure, or to form a cofferdam, etc.
  • n. One of the ordinaries or subordinaries having the form of a wedge, usually placed palewise, with the broadest end uppermost.
  • n. A mass of things heaped together; a heap
  • n. A mass formed in layers.
  • n. A funeral pile; a pyre.
  • n. A large building, or mass of buildings.
  • n. Same as Fagot, n., 2.
  • n. A vertical series of alternate disks of two dissimilar metals, as copper and zinc, laid up with disks of cloth or paper moistened with acid water between them, for producing a current of electricity; -- commonly called Volta's pile, voltaic pile, or galvanic pile.
  • n. The reverse of a coin. See Reverse.
  • transitive v. To drive piles into; to fill with piles; to strengthen with piles.
  • transitive v. To lay or throw into a pile or heap; to heap up; to collect into a mass; to accumulate; to amass; -- often with up.
  • transitive v. To cover with heaps; or in great abundance; to fill or overfill; to load.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To furnish with a pile or head.
  • To furnish, strengthen, or support with piles; drive piles into.
  • To lay or throw into a heap; heap, or heap up; collect into a pile or mass: as, to pile wood or stones.
  • To bring into an aggregate; accumulate: as, to pile quotations or comments.
  • Same as fagot, 2
  • To furnish with pile; make shaggy.
  • To break off the awns of (threshed barley).
  • A Middle English form of pill.
  • To arrange (spheres) so as to occupy the minimum of volume.
  • To form a pile or heap; often with up: as, his debts piled up.
  • n. The pointed head of a staff, pike, arrow, or the like, when not barbed, generally of a rounded form and serving as a ferrule; also, an arrow.
  • n. A javelin.
  • n. [The above is an imitation of the following passage:
  • n. A pointed stake; specifically, in architecture and engineering, a beam, heavy, generally of timber, often the roughly trimmed trunk of a tree, pointed or not at the end and driven into the soil for the support of some superstructure or to form part of a wall, as of a Coffer-dam or quay.
  • n. A post such as that used in the exercise of the quintain.
  • n. A pillar; specifically, a small pillar of iron, en- graved on the top with the image to be given to the under side of a coin stamped upon it; hence, the under side or reverse of the coin itself: opposed to the cross.
  • n. A tower or castle: same as peel.
  • n. A large building or mass of buildings of stone or brick; a massive edifice: as, a noble pile; a venerable pile.
  • n. A pyramid; a pyramidal figure; specifically, in heraldry, a bearing consisting of a pyramidal or wedge-shaped figure (generally assumed to represent an arrow-head), which, unless otherwise blazoned, seems to emerge from the top of the escutcheon with its point downward. It is usually considered one of the subordinaries, but by some authors as an ordinary. See pile, 1, and phrases below.
  • n. A heap consisting of an indefinite number of separate objects, commonly of the same kind, arranged of purpose or by natural causes in a more or less regular (cubical, pyramidal, cylindrical, or conical) form; a large mass, or a large quantity: as, a pile of stones; a pile of wood; a pile of money or of grain.
  • n. Specifically A funeral pile; a pyre. See funeral pile, under funeral.
  • n. An oblong rectangular mass of cut lengths of puddled bars of iron, laid together and ready for being rolled after being raised to a welding-temperature in a reheating-furnace.
  • n. In electricity, a series of plates of two dissimilar metals, such as copper and zinc, laid one above the other alternately, with cloth or paper placed between each pair, moistened with an acid solution, for producing a current of electricity. See electricity.
  • n. A large amount of money: a fortune: as, he has made his pile.
  • n. Hair.
  • n. Specifically, in hunting, in the plural, the hair or fur of an animal, as the boar, wolf, fox, etc.; hence, hairs collectively; pelage.
  • n. The lay or set of the hair.
  • n. A fiber, as of wool or cotton.
  • n. In entomology, thinly set fine hairs which are ordinarily rather long.
  • n. Nap of a regular and closely set kind, consisting of threads standing close together and shaved off smooth, so as to form a uniform and even surface.
  • n. In gambling, all the capital a player has to lose on the game; all the chips in front of a player.
  • n. A single hemorrhoidal tumor. See piles.
  • n. In artillery, a heap of shot or shells piled up by horizontal courses in parallel tiers into a pyramidal or wedge-like form, the form being determined by that of the base, which may be a triangle, a square, or a rectangle. In a triangular pile the base is an equilateral triangle, and there is one sphere at the apex. The numbers in the successive horizontal tiers, reckoned from the top downward, are the triangular numbers 1, 3, 6, 10 … ½ n (n + 1).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fine soft dense hair (as the fine short hair of cattle or deer or the wool of sheep or the undercoat of certain dogs)
  • n. the yarn (as in a rug or velvet or corduroy) that stands up from the weave
  • n. (often followed by `of') a large number or amount or extent
  • v. arrange in stacks
  • n. a nuclear reactor that uses controlled nuclear fission to generate energy
  • v. place or lay as if in a pile
  • n. a large sum of money (especially as pay or profit)
  • n. a column of wood or steel or concrete that is driven into the ground to provide support for a structure
  • n. a collection of objects laid on top of each other
  • v. press tightly together or cram
  • n. battery consisting of voltaic cells arranged in series; the earliest electric battery devised by Volta

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pīla, pillar.
Middle English, from Old English pīl, shaft, stake, from Latin pīlum, spear, pestle.
From Middle English piles, hair, plumage, probably from Middle Dutch pijl, fine hair, and Middle Low German pile, downy plumage, both from Latin pilus, hair.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English pīl, from Latin pīlum. Cognate with Dutch pijl, German Pfeil. (Wiktionary)
Apparently from Late Latin pilus. (Wiktionary)
From Middle French pile, pille, from Latin pīla ("pillar, pier"). (Wiktionary)
Partly from Anglo-Norman pil (a variant of peil, poil ("hair")) and partly from its source, Latin pilus ("hair"). (Wiktionary)

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