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pile 1 (pīl)
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n.
1. A quantity of objects stacked or thrown together in a heap. See Synonyms at heap.
2. Informal
a. A large accumulation or quantity: a pile of work to do.
b. A large amount of money: made a pile in the real estate boom.
3. A nuclear reactor.
4. A voltaic pile.
5. A very large building or complex of buildings.
6. A funeral pyre.
v. piled, pil·ing, piles
v.tr.
1.
a. To place or lay in a pile or heap: piled books onto the table.
b. To load (something) with a heap or pile: piled the table with books.
2. To add or increase to abundance or to a point of burdensomeness: piled homework on the students.
v.intr.
1. To form a heap or pile.
2. To move in, out, or forward in a disorderly mass or group: pile into a bus; pile out of a car.
Phrasal Verbs:
pile on
1. To leap onto an existing pile of people, especially football players.
2. To add or increase (something, such as criticism) abundantly or excessively.
pile up
1. To accumulate: Work is piling up.
2. Informal To undergo a serious vehicular collision.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pīla, pillar.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
pile 2 (pīl)
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n.
1. A heavy post of timber, concrete, or steel, driven into the earth as a foundation or support for a structure.
2. Heraldry A wedge-shaped charge pointing downward.
3. A Roman javelin.
tr.v. piled, pil·ing, piles
1. To drive piles into.
2. To support with piles.

[Middle English, from Old English pīl, shaft, stake, from Latin pīlum, spear, pestle.]
(click for a larger image)
pile2

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
pile 3 (pīl)
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n.
1.
a. Cut or uncut loops of yarn forming the surface of certain fabrics, such as velvet, plush, and carpeting.
b. The surface so formed.
2. Soft fine hair, fur, or wool.

[From Middle English piles(attested only in plural) downy hair, downy plumage, partly from Anglo-Norman peil, pil, hair, coat (as of a horse), cloth with a thick nap, and partly from Latin pilus, hair (Anglo-Norman, from Latin).]

piled adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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