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heap coals of fire on (one's) head

To make a special effort to induce feelings of guilt or remorse in another person. Why are you citing all these examples of times I wronged you? Why are you heaping coals of fire on my head?
See also: coal, fire, head, heap, of, on

at the bottom of the heap

In the worst or lowest position in a group. As far as our government is concerned, kids born into poverty are just at the bottom of the heap, perpetually ignored.
See also: bottom, heap, of

bottom of the barrel

 and bottom of the heap
Fig. the location of persons or things of the very lowest quality; someone or something of the lowest quality. (The fruit at the bottom of a barrel of apples is likely to be bruised from the weight of the other apples.) That last secretary you sent me was really the bottom of the barrel. I don't need any candidates from the bottom of the heap.
See also: barrel, bottom, of

do someone a power of good

 and do someone a heap of good
Rur. to be very good for someone. You should take a vacation. It'd do you a power of good. Just hearing your voice does me a heap of good.
See also: good, of, power

(a) heap of (something)

a great deal of something. Tom's got a heap of money, but no one to spend it on. A teacher has to have a heap of patience as well as a lot of smarts.
See also: heap, of

(a) heap sight

Rur. a lot; very much. This chair is a heap sight better than that one. You got a heap sight more taters than I did.
See also: heap, sight

heap something up

to make something into a pile. He heaped the mashed potatoes up on my plate, because he thought I wanted lots. Heap up the leaves in the corner of the yard.
See also: heap, up

heap something (up)on someone or something

1. Lit. to pile something up on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Please don't heap so much trouble upon me! Wally heaped leaves on the flower bed.
2. Fig. to give someone too much of something, such as homework, praise, criticism, etc. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Don't heap too much praise on her. She will get conceited. The manager heaped criticism on the workers.
See also: heap, on

heap something with something

to pile something onto something. Karen heaped Jeff's plate with way too much food. We heaped the driveway with leaves and then put them into bags.
See also: heap

top of the heap

Fig. a position superior to everyone else. For some reason, Jerry has to be at the top of the heap. She fought her way to the top of the heap and means to stay there.
See also: heap, of, top

whole heap more

 and whole lot more
Rur. a great deal more. I think a whole heap more of Joe than I do of his brother. Don't quit now. There's a whole heap more work to be done.
See also: heap, more, whole

the bottom of the heap

also the bottom of the pile
the lowest rank within a group Being near the bottom of the heap, the company has nowhere to go but up. Those at the bottom of the heap feel that no one cares about them.
Opposite of: the top of the heap
See also: bottom, heap, of

heap something on somebody/something

to express a strong opinion about someone or something Other leaders heaped praise on the president at the meeting.
Usage notes: often heap scorn on someone or something (to express a strong lack of respect): He heaped scorn on those who thought the plan would work.
See also: heap, on

on the scrap heap

also in the scrap heap
in a place for things that are not wanted any more Congress is threatening to throw the president's budget on the scrap heap.
Etymology: from the literal meaning of scrap heap (a pile of things that are no longer wanted)
See also: heap, on, scrap

the top of the heap

the highest rank within a group How does Stephen plan to keep the company at the top of the heap?
Usage notes: often used in the form at the top of the heap, as in the example
Opposite of: the bottom of the heap
See also: heap, of, top

at the bottom of the heap/pile

in a worse situation than anyone else in a group of people Those at the bottom of the heap feel that society has failed them. The homeless are at the bottom of the pile with little hope of improving their situation.
See also: bottom, heap, of

fall in a heap

  (Australian informal)
to lose control of your feelings and start to cry The case collapsed when the main witness fell in a heap and was escorted from the court.
See also: fall, heap

do somebody a power of good

to make someone feel much better That walk in the fresh air did me a power of good.
See also: good, of, power

throw somebody/something on the scrap heap

to get rid of someone or something that is not wanted or needed any more (usually passive) Many people over forty who can't find a job feel they've been thrown on the scrap heap.
See also: heap, on, scrap, throw

bottom of the barrel

The least desirable, the dregs, as in The nominating committee had trouble finding candidates; they were settling for the bottom of the barrel . The phrase often occurs in scrape the bottom of the barrel, meaning "to use the least desirable elements" (because one has no choice), as in Bringing up that minor legal point proves that you're scraping the bottom of the barrel. This metaphor for the sediment left by wine in a barrel was already used by Cicero to describe the lowest elements of Roman society. [First half of 1900s]
See also: barrel, bottom, of

heap up

1. To pile something up: I heaped up the dirty clothes in the corner of my room. The floodwaters heaped debris up onto the beach.
2. To accumulate: Garbage heaped up in the streets.
See also: heap, up

bottom of the barrel

and bottom of the heap
n. the location of persons or things of the very lowest quality. (see also scrape the bottom of the barrel.) That last secretary you sent me was really from the bottom of the barrel. If you drop out of school, you stay at the bottom of the heap.
See also: barrel, bottom, of

bottom of the heap

See also: bottom, heap, of


1. n. an old car. (see also load.) I’ve got to get my heap fixed up.
2. n. any dilapidated thing or person. We have to fix up this heap if we’re really going to live in it.
3. and heaps n. lots (of something). Mr. Wilson has heaps of money.


See heap
See also: heap

in a heap

mod. alcohol intoxicated. The guys were all in a heap after the blast.
See also: heap

junk heap

n. a dilapidated old car; a dilapidated house or other structure. They lived in that junk heap for thirty years and never painted it.
See also: heap, junk

top of the heap

n. a position superior to everyone else. For some reason, Jerry has to be at the top of the heap.
See also: heap, of, top

heaping Pelion upon Ossa

Adding difficulty to difficulty; fruitless efforts. The reference is to the attempt by the giants in Greek mythology to climb to heaven by piling Mount Ossa upon Mount Pelion.
See also: heap, ossa, Pelion, upon
References in classic literature ?
Her bees and her crows and her wolves were lying in heaps and drying up, and she had used up all the power of the Golden Cap; but if she could only get hold of the Silver Shoes, they would give her more power than all the other things she had lost.
He did not know that these despised rock heaps of the Phanfasms were merely deceptions to his own eyes, nor could he guess that he was standing in the midst of one of the most splendid and luxurious cities ever built by magic power.
Heaps and heaps of loose snuff, not kept in a horn, or even a pouch, but lying in heaps on the mantelpieces, on the sideboard, on the piano, anywhere.
Here and there about the house curious little heaps of minute pieces of metal, some like steel springs and some in the form of microscopic wheels.
The next day, being the nineteenth, I went back, having made me two small bags to bring home my harvest; but I was surprised, when coming to my heap of grapes, which were so rich and fine when I gathered them, to find them all spread about, trod to pieces, and dragged about, some here, some there, and abundance eaten and devoured.
Nothing left but a dull and dreary blank--a smouldering heap of dust and ashes--the silence and solitude of utter desolation.
We have done all we can; the fire is burning itself out; and even the corners where it hasn't spread, are nothing but heaps of ruins.
The man who had been watching this fire, and whose task was ended for the present, gladly withdrew, and left them with their friend, who, spreading Nell's little cloak upon a heap of ashes, and showing her where she could hang her outer-clothes to dry, signed to her and the old man to lie down and sleep.
The child continued to watch him for a little time, but soon yielded to the drowsiness that came upon her, and, in the dark strange place and on the heap of ashes, slept as peacefully as if the room had been a palace chamber, and the bed, a bed of down.
Others, reposing upon heaps of coals or ashes, with their faces turned to the black vault above, slept or rested from their toil.
Heap, who coaches rugby league for the North East Regional Academy, Gateshead Thunder and Jarrow Vikings, was nominated for the Heather Crouch Young Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette, in Glasgow.
One Park Lane Limited has applied to demolish the derelict Heaps Mill, a former rice warehouse in the Baltic Triangle, and build five blocks made up of 515 apartments in its place.
The construction of the heap leach can be commenced later in 2012 with first production of gold from the heap leach currently expected in mid-2013.
For the album's first track, Heap selected sounds created by two local musicians: father and daughter Bob and Anna Ponto.