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From Middle English stack, stacke, stakke, stak, from Old Norse stakkr (a barn; haystack; heap; pile), from Proto-Germanic *stakkaz (a barn; rick; haystack), from Proto-Indo-European *steg- (pole; rod; stick; stake). Cognate with Icelandic stakkur (stack), Swedish stack (stack), Danish stak (stack), Norwegian stakk (stack). Related to stake.


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stack (plural stacks)

  1. (heading) A pile.
    1. A large pile of hay, grain, straw, or the like, larger at the bottom than the top, sometimes covered with thatch.
      • William Cowper (1731-1800)
        But corn was housed, and beans were in the stack.
    2. A pile of similar objects, each directly on top of the last.
      Please bring me a chair from that stack in the corner.
    3. (Britain) A pile of poles or wood, indefinite in quantity.
      • Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
        Against every pillar was a stack of billets above a man's height.
    4. A pile of wood containing 108 cubic feet. (~3 m³)
    5. An extensive collection
      • 1997, Guy Claxton, Hare brain, tortoise mind: why intelligence increases when you think less
        She performed appallingly on standard neurological tests, which are, as Sacks perceptively notes, specifically designed to deconstruct the whole person into a stack of 'abilities'.
      • 2005, Elizabeth McLeod, The Original Amos 'n' Andy: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll and the 1928-1943 Radio Serial, McFarland →ISBN, page 26
        “We said, 'Maybe we could come up with a couple of characters doing jokes,'” Correll recalled in 1972. “We had a whole stack of jokes we used to do in these home talent shows
      • 2007, Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Education and Skills Committee, Post-16 skills: ninth report of session 2006-07, Vol. 2: Oral and written evidence, The Stationery Office →ISBN, page 42
        Going back to an earlier question, which I think is very important, this question of how you use skills. It is no good having a great stack of skills in a workplace if the employer does not utilise them properly
  2. A smokestack.
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterI:
      With just the turn of a shoulder she indicated the water front, where, at the end of the dock on which they stood, lay the good ship, Mount Vernon, river packet, the black smoke already pouring from her stacks.
  3. (heading) In digital computing.
    1. A linear data structure in which the last data item stored is the first retrieved; a LIFO queue.
    2. A portion of computer memory occupied by a stack data structure, particularly (the stack) that portion of main memory manipulated during machine language procedure call related instructions.
      • 1992, Michael A. Miller, The 68000 Microprocessor Family: Architecture, Programming, and Applications, p.47:
        When the microprocessor decodes the JSR opcode, it stores the operand into the TEMP register and pushes the current contents of the PC ($00 0128) onto the stack.
    3. A standard set of software components commonly used together on a system – for example, the combination of an operating system, web server, database and programming language.
      • 2016, John Paul Mueller, AWS For Admins For Dummies, John Wiley & Sons →ISBN, page 323
        A Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP) stack is a configuration of four popular products for hosting websites.
  4. (mathematics) A generalization of schemes in algebraic geometry and of sheaves.
  5. (geology) A coastal landform, consisting of a large vertical column of rock in the sea.
  6. (library) Compactly spaced bookshelves used to house large collections of books.
  7. (figuratively) A large amount of an object.
    They paid him a stack of money to keep quiet.
  8. (military) A pile of rifles or muskets in a cone shape.
  9. (poker) The amount of money a player has on the table.
  10. (heading) In architecture.
    1. A number of flues embodied in one structure, rising above the roof.
    2. A vertical drainpipe.
  11. (Australia, slang) A fall or crash, a prang.
  12. (bodybuilding) A blend of various dietary supplements or anabolic steroids with supposed synergistic benefits.




stack (third-person singular simple present stacks, present participle stacking, simple past and past participle stacked)

  1. (transitive) To arrange in a stack, or to add to an existing stack.
    • 2013 January 22, Phil McNulty, “Aston Villa 2-1 Bradford (3-4)”, in BBC:
      James Hanson, the striker who used to stack shelves in a supermarket, flashed a superb header past Shay Given from Gary Jones's corner 10 minutes after the break.
    • 2013 July-August, Catherine Clabby, “Focus on Everything”, in American Scientist:
      Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus. [] A photo processing technique called focus stacking has changed that. Developed as a tool to electronically combine the sharpest bits of multiple digital images, focus stacking is a boon to biologists seeking full focus on a micron scale.
    Please stack those chairs in the corner.
  2. (transitive, card games) To arrange the cards in a deck in a particular manner.
    This is the third hand in a row where you've drawn four of a kind. Someone is stacking the deck!
  3. (transitive, poker) To take all the money another player currently has on the table.
    I won Jill's last $100 this hand; I stacked her!
  4. (transitive) To deliberately distort the composition of (an assembly, committee, etc.).
    The Government was accused of stacking the parliamentary committee.
  5. (transitive, US, Australia, slang) To crash; to fall.
    • 1975, Laurie Clancy, A Collapsible Man, Outback Press, page 43,
      Miserable phone calls from Windsor police station or from Russell Street. ‘Mum, I′ve stacked the car; could you get me a lawyer?’, the middle-class panacea for all diseases.
    • 1984, Jack Hibberd, A Country Quinella: Two Celebration Plays, page 80,
      MARMALADE Who stacked the car? (pointing to SALOON) Fangio here.
      JOCK (standing) I claim full responsibility for the second bingle.
    • 2002, Ernest Keen, Depression: Self-Consciousness, Pretending, and Guilt, page 19,
      Eventually he sideswiped a bus and forced other cars to collide, and as he finally stacked the car up on a bridge abutment, he passed out, perhaps from exhaustion, perhaps from his head hitting the windshield.
    • 2007, Martin Chipperfield, slut talk, Night Falling, 34th Parallel Publishing, US, Trade Paperback, page 100,
      oh shit danny, i stacked the car / ran into sally, an old school friend / you stacked the car? / so now i need this sally′s address / for the insurance, danny says
    Jim couldn′t make it today as he stacked his car on the weekend.


Related termsEdit




From Old Norse stakkr.


stack c

  1. a stack (e.g. of hay), a pile (e.g. of manure)
  2. an ant farm, an ant colony
  3. a stack (in computer memory)


Declension of stack 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative stack stacken stackar stackarna
Genitive stacks stackens stackars stackarnas

Related termsEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. past tense of sticka.