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1. To accumulate, gather, or increase over time. Please don't let your dirty dishes pile up—put them in the dishwasher or clean them yourself! With Deborah out sick all week, jobs have begun to pile up in our department.
2. To put something into a pile or heap. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "pile" and "up." Just pile up your garden waste on the curb, and we will be around in the morning to collect it.
3. To crash into or on top of one another. Because of the black ice on the roads, nearly a dozen cars piled up as they tried in vain to come to a stop.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pile something up
1. to crash or wreck something. Drive carefully if you don't want to pile the car up. The driver piled up the car against a tree.
2. to make something into a heap. Carl piled all the leaves up and set them afire. Please pile up the leaves.
1. Lit. [for things] to gather or accumulate. The newspapers began to pile up after a few days. Work is really piling up around here.
2. Fig. [for a number of vehicles] to crash together. Nearly twenty cars piled up on the bridge this morning.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Accumulate, as in The leaves piled up in the yard, or He piled up a huge fortune. In this idiom pile means "form a heap or mass of something." [Mid-1800s]
2. Be involved in a crash, as in When the police arrived, at least four cars had piled up. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To arrange something into a pile: We piled up the firewood in the garage. I piled the dirty dishes up in the sink.
2. To accumulate: My bills piled up while I was in the hospital.
3. To cause something to accumulate: The company is piling up debt with its risky investments. The team piled 40 points up in the first half of the game.
4. To crash into each other; collide. Used especially of vehicles: Because of the thick fog, dozens of cars piled up on the freeway.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.