See also: pileup and pile-up

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  • (file)

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pile up (third-person singular simple present piles up, present participle piling up, simple past and past participle piled up)

  1. (transitive) To form a pile, stack, or heap.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:pile up
    Coordinate term: pile on
    The kids piled up their boots and coats by the back door.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, chapter 4, in Moonfleet, London, Toronto, Ont.: Jonathan Cape, published 1934:
      And still the hours passed, and at last I knew by the glimmer of light in the tomb above that the sun had risen again, and a maddening thirst had hold of me. And then I thought of all the barrels piled up in the vault and of the liquor that they held; and stuck not because 'twas spirit, for I would scarce have paused to sate that thirst even with molten lead.
    • 1911, James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, volume 9, page 14:
      In the Norwegian district of Tellemarken a cairn is piled up wherever anything fearful has happened, and every passer-by must throw another stone on it, or some evil will befall him.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 2, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      If I close my eyes I can see Marie today as I saw her then. Round, rosy face, snub nose, dark hair piled up in a chignon.
  2. (idiomatic, intransitive) To collect or accumulate, as a backlog.
    Synonym: head up
    The requests piled up while she was away.
    • 1945 January and February, “Notes and News: American Locomotives in France”, in Railway Magazine, page 46:
      The locomotive was the now inevitable American 2-8-0, No. 2623. There she stood, effectively blocking the level crossing, simmering gently, massively inert. It was almost dark, and one's final sight was of her high, firelit cab, the enginemen nonchalantly leaning out, waiting for the right-away, while impatient road convoys piled up on both sides of the crossing.
    • 1962 August, G. Freeman Allen, “Traffic control on the Great Northern Line”, in Modern Railways, page 131/132:
      There are the engines that develop ill-health and begin to lose time, or the wagons that develop hot boxes and have to be removed, initiating delays that steadily pile up—or at worst, the weather lays its hand on the whole District.

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