Definition of heap in English:



  • 1An untidy collection of objects placed haphazardly on top of each other.

    ‘a disordered heap of a lot of boxes’
    ‘her clothes lay in a heap on the floor’
    • ‘Giant sting rays pile up in heaps on the adjacent sea floor.’
    • ‘She left her clothes in a tidy heap on the floor, since she didn't know where the laundry basket was.’
    • ‘I've been putting this off for days now but there's only so long you can live with your clothes in a big heap on the floor and your shoes scattered randomly across your bedroom.’
    • ‘You undressed quickly, leaving your clothes in an untidy heap on the floor.’
    • ‘Fall leaves lay in heaps on the ground, enveloping the road as well.’
    • ‘Plastics, metals and other recyclable materials lay in heaps everywhere, waiting to be trucked to smelters.’
    • ‘The rest is burned in heaps on the ground and never smoked at all.’
    • ‘This is stacked in heaps by the women and children and is set alight once it is dry.’
    • ‘Additionally, over 50,000 tons of solid waste produced every year lie in heaps in and around the city.’
    • ‘Mats and blankets moldered in heaps in a corner and people seemed picky about which they selected.’
    • ‘A janitor at Ryko looked down at the broom he was pushing and noticed he had collected a big heap of old Zappa albums that have been rattling around the warehouse for a chunk of the last decade.’
    • ‘Wet, bloody feathers lay in heaps on the floor. ‘They go in dressed, and come out undressed,’ jokes the factory manager.’
    • ‘Everything from framed pictures to cricket memorabilia were laid out in heaps on the floor, as they were photographed as part of an official record.’
    • ‘Or, if you are planning on a Christmas theme, your Christmas wedding favors may be in the form of crackers, piled in heaps around the tables for guests to collect.’
    • ‘And neither is the termite mound a heap, a haphazard pile of dirt.’
    • ‘Helpings are always liberal and strictly in heaps.’
    • ‘Hundreds of scrolls were tucked neatly away on wooden shelves or piled in heaps next to the walls so they would not catch on fire.’
    • ‘Ignoring her gown from the previous evening, which lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, she opted instead for a blue and white striped shirt from the pile of clothes on the leather armchair.’
    • ‘My eyes traveled in horror to the base of the toilet where a pile of towels and a once vibrant yellow shag rug lay in heaps.’
    • ‘I dug through the heap of clothes that had collected into a mountain on one corner of my room and found my favorite pair of jeans.’
    pile, stack, mass, mound, mountain, quantity, load, lot, bundle, jumble
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    1. 1.1 An amount of a particular loose substance.
      ‘a heap of gravel’
      • ‘There's an unfinished attempt at a deck, no more than a heap of firewood, in one of the back corners, and a small dumping area in the other where the previous owners used to tip grass cuttings.’
      • ‘If the film flops, the banks will only have a heap of cans and nothing else.’
      pile, bank, mound, mass, accumulation, dune, ridge
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  • 2a heap of/heaps ofinformal A large amount or number of.

    ‘we have heaps of room’
    • ‘I could list off a whole heap of things that are sitting in my room that I couldn't stand to see get broken, wrecked, destroyed or misplaced.’
    • ‘There is a whole heap of issues that need to be thought through.’
    • ‘There's a whole heap of side effects with that, so it's hard to know which part was making me sicker, whether it was the disease or the drug.’
    • ‘So the ‘agreement’ referred to in the AP story is tenuous, at best, and at worst, lacks a whole heap of context that renders it meaningless.’
    • ‘Well I've sold a whole heap of parts to people, nobody's ever come back and asked me where I got the parts from.’
    • ‘Even decoded, the instructions on the tag don't make a whole heap of sense.’
    • ‘But a whole heap of relatively strange things happened too.’
    • ‘There was a whole heap of resistance to the initial spraying round.’
    • ‘So he had infiltrated our houses and let in heaps of ants.’
    • ‘The police had set up roadblocks immediately, and at one point that night a whole heap of people tried to bust through the roadblock in cars and on foot.’
    • ‘The retro releases have resurrected the original college colors plus a whole heap of collaborations have kept the integrity intact.’
    • ‘Take into consideration our high numbers of houseless and hungry people and you find a whole heap of hungry, gluttonous Christians here.’
    • ‘As it was, I bought a few things for myself, and a whole heap of Christmas presents (two of which got broken on the way back, sadly).’
    • ‘He gives you some great gig in which you make a whole heap of money, and you're just on top of the world and on every magazine cover, but your personal life is miserable.’
    • ‘But it'll also be a huge learning curve, an incredible thrill and, every once in a while, a whole heap of fun.’
    • ‘We give them a whole heap of strategies at our workshop.’
    • ‘There's a whole heap of things I ought to be filling my time with.’
    • ‘An ex-girlfriend advised me to take cod liver oil as a supplement to help suppress this, but I can't say that my daily dose has made a whole heap of difference.’
    • ‘I want to get to a whole heap of Art Galleries and Museums too.’
    • ‘Now I know this may get me into a whole heap of trouble, but I couldn't help feeling this novel might prove more popular with ladies than gentlemen.’
    a lot, lots, a large amount, a fair amount, much, a good deal, a great deal, a deal, a great quantity, quantities, an abundance, a wealth, a profusion, plenty, masses
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  • 3informal An untidy or dilapidated place or vehicle.

    ‘they climbed back in the heap and headed home’
    automobile, motor vehicle, motorized vehicle, means of transport, conveyance, machine
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  • A great deal.

    ‘‘How do you like Maggie?’ ‘I like you heaps better!’’
    • ‘Anyways, thanks heaps for reviewing and don't forget to tell me what you thought of this chappie.’
    • ‘Thanks heaps for that phrase, which I hadn't heard before, and is really useful for me in thinking about this.’
    • ‘Thanks heaps for sharing you life with us and our readers.’
    • ‘I made the run-on team but as a winger because the incumbent halfback was heaps bigger and faster than me, and also because the mate that introduced me to the club had broken his nose the previous week.’
    • ‘Thanks heaps for the feedback and reading the story!’
    • ‘The early reviews reckon her debut film is heaps better than Nic's was.’
    • ‘Hey everyone, thanks heaps for all the reviews, they mean so much to me!’
    • ‘Thanks heaps for you wonderful and energetic review!’
    • ‘Lets just say that Bron and Drew were a great help that night… thanks heaps and I'm sorry for causing trouble.’
    • ‘The Australian economy seems heaps healthier by comparison.’
    • ‘I still want to be able to earn some cash from writing at some point - the recent writing I've done has been heaps better than any of my earlier work - but it's going to be a slow road ahead unless I get lucky.’
    • ‘Plus he's heaps interested in, like, fashion and stuff.’
    • ‘I have to say, though, that it really is a lot of fun, and heaps better than painting pebbles.’
    • ‘Anyway, thanks heaps for the Mother's Day presents JJ and Miss M. Love ya!’
    • ‘Also thanks heaps to all of you who have reviewed so far.’
    • ‘Last year there was only me and AA who were 1st years, plus AA is heaps older and I didn't know her at all.’
    • ‘Thanks heaps, it means a lot to me and I'm really glad you liked it.’
    • ‘Anyway, thanks heaps to Hayden, Kyle and Damon for putting us up - and to Rowan and Mazzy for putting up with us.’
    • ‘Thanks heaps for dinner and the drinks, and listening to me prattle on for a couple of hours!’
    • ‘Thanks heaps for your time Paul and good luck for your future.’


  • 1Put (objects or a loose substance) in a heap.

    ‘she heaped logs on the fire’
    ‘heaped up in one corner was a pile of junk’
    • ‘The men left on guard outside the caves placed plastic sheets over their entrances and heaped dirt on them for camouflage.’
    • ‘Coals were then heaped around the crucible, but while tending the fire the canon craftily placed above the crucible a special coal, one that had been hollowed out, filled with silver filings and stopped with wax.’
    • ‘At the rare dinner parties I was invited to, the hostesses heaped carrots and peas on my plate (and if I was lucky, mashed potatoes).’
    • ‘When building homes, dusky-footed wood rats heap sticks into protective piles that may reach several feet in height and width.’
    • ‘He heaped sugar over the coffee powder in the cup.’
    • ‘When did they disappear, those piles of snow that had been heaped up in the park in Ripon?’
    • ‘In the Oklahoma case, over 12 tons of material were heaped in storerooms, but much of it was never touched, let alone properly analysed by investigators.’
    • ‘Nothing else was about, save for the pile of small stones heaped by the grateful as a thank-offering to the ancient water spirit of the place.’
    • ‘Bloodstained clothing, papers and trash were heaped everywhere.’
    • ‘Avoid dung or urine patches and areas where fertiliser or lime was heaped or spilled.’
    • ‘This version uses brown bread rather than white and between the buttery sandwiches is heaped chunky hot ginger jam, sometimes sold as ginger marmalade, but usually as ginger conserve.’
    • ‘Excavation has shown that instead of removing the peat which was shallow at this point, a thin layer of sand was spread over the top of the peat, and gravel with some sand was heaped over to form a low agger.’
    • ‘After a moment's hesitation, she heaped straw over the man so no one else would see him.’
    • ‘The amount of garbage the city generates is staggering—piles and piles of rubbish are heaped on the sidewalks by the end of the day.’
    • ‘Spread a mulch of wood chips, cocoa bean hulls, or the like around the plant, taking care not to heap the material around the rose's trunk.’
    • ‘Each section provided men for the experiment and tons of dirt and gravel were heaped on the pavement and, for a time at least, expedited travel within the area considerably.’
    • ‘I turned back to where several other servants were heaping various meats, cheeses and fruits onto my plate, and I noticed that none was going onto Hayden's.’
    • ‘Piles of wood were heaped up at crossroads and street corners.’
    • ‘As the cross is secured, the youngsters heap the combustible material around the pole, and it is set ablaze by the man to last marry in the village.’
    • ‘They're all heaped up in two towering piles, along with the old battening.’
    pile up, pile, stack up, stack, make a pile of, make a stack of, make a mound of
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    1. 1.1heap something with Load something copiously with.
      ‘he heaped his plate with rice’
      • ‘It's lunchtime on the first day of the spring term at St Peter's Church of England Primary School in East Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and the children are heaping their plates with salad.’
      • ‘The mounds were heaped with small rock gardens, dwarfed trees, and every variety of flower imaginable.’
      • ‘The lure of the range brings out the cowpoke in all of us, along with the chance to heap a plate high with some hearty cowboy dishes.’
      • ‘So it's hardly surprising that African American scholars, relative newcomers to the academic table, have heaped their plates with other types of publications and generally ignored textbooks.’
      • ‘Bookstore counters are heaped with books which contain one single idea: how to overcome personal disability, how to improve one's own situation.’
      • ‘The platters were heaped with beef fillet, sirloin, rump and kidneys as well as chicken, lamb and pork.’
      • ‘I am not so sure of their total digestion, but I do recognize their omnivorousness, their heaping the plate with every piping-hot vice and outrage they could muster.’
      • ‘I guess that's why I haven't actively tried to talk with him about my troubles - I don't want to heap his plate with my issues when he has his own to deal with.’
      • ‘I ought to make a submission to the panel, but wonder at what tone to take: should I fight for my corner of the corner, or should I heap my prose with obsequies and leave it at that?’
      • ‘The group of laughing, hungry people heaped their plates with the offerings and enjoyed their celebration, as Venus with her attendant stars, and Moon on the wane joined the party.’
      • ‘All the planes in the gates had their cargo doors open; the tarmac was heaped with opened suitcases and mounds of clothes.’
      • ‘Most beginners heap their plate with two or three of their favourite items, and soon find that they have no appetite for several of the exotic dishes.’
      • ‘This is Franklin's workshop; its shelves are heaped with junk: quires of paper, rags, hammers, tongs, bottles, wires, books, old shoes, rolls of leather, bones, feathers.’
      • ‘This may be provided by sinking the potted bulbs in an 18-inch trench in the garden and covering each pot with an inverted one, and heap the pot with ashes to discourage worms.’
      • ‘When they left after a few weeks, the rest, recreation and fresh fruit having cured the crews' scurvy, they were heaped with presents.’
      • ‘Ashlyn and an elderly woman in her late forties are heaping the dinner table with food.’
      • ‘The U.S. soldiers lined up at the truck, heaping their plates with food.’
      • ‘What struck him more than anything - on a personal, human level - was a firehouse in Brooklyn; the front of the building was heaped with flowers, candles, pictures, memorials.’
      • ‘The trays were heaped with chicken and potatoes and bread.’
      • ‘We remember him talking at the dining table, heaping his plate with shavings from a tiny carving, a fantastical animal or human figure or an intricately precise puzzle.’
    2. 1.2as adjective heaped" or North American "heaping (of a spoon or other container) with the contents piled above the brim or edge.
      ‘a heaped teaspoon of sugar’
      • ‘When the butter has melted, whisk in a heaped tablespoon of flour and keep whisking (over a low heat) until the sauce thickens.’
      • ‘Make about 18 small balls of the mixture, using a heaped tablespoon of pork for each one.’
      • ‘Spread the beef slices out on a worktop and spoon a heaped tablespoon of filling into the centre of each.’
      • ‘He may be palatable in small slices, but in heaping helpings, he's enough to put you off your pudding for good.’
      • ‘Each time I brought a heaped spoonful to his mouth, he would greedily suck it all in.’
      • ‘Put a heaped cup of tomato sauce in the centre of the pizza and spread with the back of a wooden spoon.’
      • ‘Tip a heaped teaspoon of cheese into the hollow then cover it with a second tablespoon of chicken mixture.’
      • ‘She watched as he added a heaping spoonful to his second slice.’
      • ‘Stir a heaped teaspoon of mustard into the soup and then check the flavour, adding more mustard as required.’
      • ‘Also, check the balance with a heaped bucket of spoil.’
      • ‘Lance gulped down the remainder of his wine, and looked from her to her still heaping plate.’
      • ‘Once most of the crystals have dissolved, add another heaped spoon and continue to agitate, checking periodically on your progress.’
      • ‘Ally brought the heaping plate of cookies to the table and set them in front of Rob.’
    3. 1.3no object Form a heap.
      ‘clouds heaped higher in the west’
      • ‘I thought it was bad earlier this week, but it all heaped up on me today.’
  • 2heap someone/something withDirect a great deal of praise, abuse, criticism, etc. at (someone or something)

    ‘she heaped praise on the public for its generosity as charity donations continued to pour in’
    ‘these are the people who make a living from heaping abuse and ridicule on those of whom they do not approve’
    • ‘The government, however, wasn't always heaping prizes on the outspoken 50-year-old director.’
    • ‘Now that I have that out of the way, let me start heaping some praise on this film.’
    • ‘I think they are heaping the blame on Free Trade when it actually shows the need for law and order, especially property rights.’
    • ‘The funny thing is, I think that a lot of the abuse heaped upon this movie is overstated.’
    • ‘The flip side is that a lot of times too much praise is heaped upon us.’
    • ‘Recalling the painful event, Shoba decides she deserved every bit of the criticism heaped upon her.’
    • ‘The saint's reaction was instant and he heaped maledictions on the unfortunate salmon, forbidding it or any of its kind ever to enter the lake again.’
    • ‘Even at my worst, I never believed in heaping extra abuses on any feeling being that didn't do something that warranted it.’
    • ‘It's like God and Buddha just heaped bountiful blessings on every snarky blogger in the world.’
    • ‘Feel free to pour your scorn or heap your praise upon us.’
    • ‘All you and Marty want to do is heap criticisms on me.’
    • ‘But withholding comment only lets errant drivers avoid blame, which is almost invariably heaped upon the Government.’
    • ‘The cultural establishment has recognised his ability and heaped awards on his previous six novels.’
    • ‘Adolescents have had a raw deal out of a government which heaps expectations on them which they can't meet.’
    • ‘In those days the magazine criticised the fact that no change was taking place and heaped the blame on the ‘rightist whites’.’
    shower on, lavish on, load on
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    1. 2.1heap someone/something with Give someone or something (a great deal of praise, abuse, criticism, etc.)
      ‘the film has been heaped with praise by critics and audiences alike’
      • ‘After a life heaped with honors, including election to the Academie Francaise, Paul Valery died in Paris on July 20, 1945.’
      • ‘Such a patently absurd claim deserves to be heaped with ridicule.’
      • ‘Other bands heaped with such lofty comparisons might not be able to deliver the goods.’
      • ‘In recognition of their services, he heaped his ministers with titles and honours, and their wider families with patronage.’
      • ‘He will be heaped with good wishes and probably play later on.’
      • ‘The show was heaped with derision for its mangling of some of the most famous lines in the English language.’
      • ‘That aside, this film has been heaped with awards, and has won Best Animated Feature at Sitges and the Animation Grand Award at Mainichi.’
      • ‘Up to Christmas he seems to have been heaped with praise for his one-man campaign to keep the team in the Premiership.’
      • ‘He has been heaped with abuse from politicians and corporate media for politicizing the firefighters' struggle.’
      • ‘Although he has been heaped with academic honors over the years, I have long thought he is not sufficiently appreciated by contemporary Christian thinkers.’
      • ‘The bicycle, despite being heaped with scorn by outraged men, was consistently trumpeted by progressive women as a tool for increased freedoms.’
      • ‘I have been heaped with some opprobrium by opponents of the project, and the issue has created deep divisions within the town.’
      • ‘If you heap a person with so much shame that they can never see beyond that, it's not impossible they'll give up.’


  • at the top (or bottom) of the heap

    • (of a person) at the highest (or lowest) point of a society or organization.

      ‘she had come up the hard way from the very bottom of the heap’
      ‘those with grand hereditary titles remain at the top of the heap’
      • ‘The rest of the proposal simply mirrors Labour's policy of reducing taxes on those at the bottom of the heap - making the tax system more progressive, in other words.’
      • ‘Either way, in these days of six-stars hotels and bulging hotel prices, it's kind of nice to see that an old standby is at the top of the heap.’
      • ‘Well I'm sure many of you will have an opinion about whether rationality should remain at the top of the heap.’
      • ‘We are virtually at the bottom of the heap now in terms of health research funding per capita, and it's getting worse.’
      • ‘The reality of life in uniform in 1950, according to his film, was vastly different from the edict's intentions, with blacks still considered at the bottom of the heap of postwar military service.’
      • ‘The nutrients it drags up are the basis of a colossal food chain with the big pelagic predators (marlin, shark, tuna and swordfish) at the top of the heap.’
      • ‘I didn't really have any; I was at the bottom of the heap and what had happened in the past was the past.’
      • ‘Standing up and breathing was sufficient to put you at the top of the heap.’
      • ‘The door has been slammed in the face of these families who now feel utterly rejected and at the bottom of the heap.’
      • ‘The unregulated labour market will leave them at the bottom of the heap - victims of meritocracy, not because they possess no merit but because they are denied the opportunity to fulfil their true potential.’
  • be struck all of a heap

    • informal Be extremely disconcerted.

      ‘those who are struck all of a heap when faced with a bill’
      • ‘He had been wounded three times and used to say every morning: ‘They'd be struck all of a heap, those Boches, if they could see me now!’’
      • ‘The British spectators, who had read about these cars and only partly believed what they had read, were struck all of a heap.’
      • ‘The King was struck all of a heap by the sight, and knew not what had befallen him.’
      • ‘He was struck all of a heap, and never seemed to know what ailed him.’
      • ‘Some bright character, possibly strolling along a towpath one day, must have been struck all of a heap by the idea that has so infuriatingly escaped me in spite of the frequent strolls along towpaths that I take myself.’
      • ‘Chamberlain went to see Hitler, and afterwards wrote to his sister that he heard from Hitler himself, and it was confirmed by others who were with him, that he was struck all of a heap, and exclaimed ‘I can't possibly let a man of his age come all this way; I must go to London’.’
  • heap coals of fire on someone's head

    • Go out of one's way to cause someone remorse.

      ‘she did not want her sister to heap coals of fire on her head when she came home’
      • ‘The relatives of the other three heap coals of fire on my head by continuing to seek medical advice from me.’
      • ‘The shenanigan only served to heap coals of fire on its head.’
      • ‘This morning Anna got very mad at one of the girls and Grandmother told her she ought to return good for evil and heap coals of fire on her head.’
      • ‘But if we manifest benevolence towards him, we heap coals of fire on his head.’
      • ‘The good book says that if you extend kindness to your enemies it heaps coals of fire on his head. (Rom 12: 20)’
      • ‘But that is certainly not the result in this case, and the magnanimity which desires to recognise in a friendly way the adversary, and which heaps coals of fire on his head, does not help philosophy in the least; for the adversary will not keep quiet, but persists in his attacks.’
      • ‘The fact that we have been forgiven by God ought to heap coals of fire on our head, as the Scripture says.’
      • ‘For in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head.’
      • ‘Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’
      • ‘For in doing this you will heap coals of fire on his head.’
  • in a heap

    • With the body completely limp.

      ‘he landed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs’
      • ‘They grab hold of each other and finally collapse in a heap, out of exhaustion.’
      • ‘They play France at Twickenham, where the French usually collapse in a heap.’
      • ‘I tripped on the last step in the mad dash for the ground floor and ended up in a heap on the cotton mass on the ground.’
      • ‘After completing their monologues, the cast collapse in a heap on the stage.’
      • ‘As soon as the Colonel was out of sight the troops collapsed in a heap and began swigging from their flasks.’
      • ‘Last Saturday we got the granddaughters to bed, made supper, tidied up then collapsed in a heap on the sofa.’
      • ‘In a freak accident, Barry went down in a heap outside his own penalty area and took no further part in the match.’
      • ‘Down through a basement I fell and landed in a heap in a dank tunnel.’
      • ‘His legs, unused to the exertion, could take no more: as they buckled Emu fell in a heap in the middle of the road.’
      • ‘Apparently, what you don't do is curl up in a heap, giving way to self pity.’


Old English hēap (noun), hēapian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoop and German Haufen.