Meaning of “pile” in the English Dictionary

"pile" in British English

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uk /paɪl/ us /paɪl/

pile noun (AMOUNT)

B1 [ C ] objects positioned one on top of another:

a pile of books
a pile of dirty clothes

B1 [ C ] a mass of something that has been placed somewhere:

a large pile of sand
a pile of sth/piles of sth

informal a lot of something:

I've got piles/a pile of things to do today.

More examples



uk /paɪl/ us /paɪl/

(Definition of “pile” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pile" in American English

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us /pɑɪl/

pile noun (THINGS)

[ C ] a number of things lying on top of each other:

a pile of newspapers
After dinner there is always a pile of dishes to be washed.

[ C ] infml A pile or piles can also be a lot of something:

I’ve got piles of homework.

pile noun (SURFACE)

[ U ] the soft surface of short threads on a carpet (= material for covering a floor) or on some types of cloth:

carpets with a deep pile


us /pɑɪl/

pile verb (MOVE)

[ I always + adv/prep ] (of a group of people) to move together, esp. in a way that is not organized:

About ten kids piled into the room, all talking at once.
Someone yelled "Fire!" and we all piled out into the street.

pile verb (THINGS)

[ always + adv/prep ] to put (things) near or on top of each other, or to collect in this way:

[ I ] Magazines just pile up on my desk at work.
[ M ] I asked her to pile on extra potatoes.

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “pile” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"pile" in Business English

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pilenoun [ C ]

uk /paɪl/ us

a large amount of something:

a pile of cash/money
consumers with piles of credit card debt
I have piles of paperwork to finish.
at the bottom/top of the pile

at the bottom or top of a group of competing things:

Despite a shaky first quarter, the athletic shoe producer has once again emerged at the top of the pile.


uk /paɪl/ us
pile it high, sell it cheap

COMMERCE said when a store sells large amounts of a product at cheap prices, without spending effort or money on displays, advertising, etc.:

The discount grocer is once again thriving at the pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap end of the market.

(Definition of “pile” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)