a group of things placed, thrown, or lying one on another; pile:
a heap of stones.
Informal. a great quantity or number; multitude:
a heap of people.
Slang. an automobile, especially a dilapidated one.
to gather, put, or cast in a heap; pile (often followed by up, on, together, etc.).
to accumulate or amass (often followed by up or together):
to heap up riches.
to give, assign, or bestow in great quantity; load (often followed by on or upon):
to heap blessings upon someone; to heap someone with work.
to load, supply, or fill abundantly:
to heap a plate with food.
to become heaped or piled, as sand or snow; rise in a heap or heaps (often followed by up).
all of a heap, Informal.

overwhelmed with astonishment; amazed:
We were struck all of a heap upon hearing of their divorce.
suddenly; abruptly:
All of a heap the room was empty.

Contemporary Examples

If not, you’ll be seen as a hypocrite and as a known Christian, heap shame on the Gospel.
Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate Kirsten Powers, Jonathan Merritt February 22, 2014

It contains sections on wealth, poverty, income, mobility, jobs, and wages, and just a heap of useful information.
State of Working America Michael Tomasky September 10, 2012

Ribowsky is at his best making surprising connections from his heap of anecdotes and quotes.
The Only Sportscaster That Mattered: New Biography of Howard Cosell Robert Lipsyte November 19, 2011

heap praise, not scorn, on physicians who are brave and caring enough to recommend cannabis when appropriate.
I Got a Weed License in Minutes Daniela Drake June 23, 2014

Nestled here, in the southwestern corner of the compound, is a heap of crumbling concrete.
Pablo Escobar’s Private Prison Is Now Run by Monks for Senior Citizens Jeff Campagna June 6, 2014

Historical Examples

“I find a touch of rye helps me a heap when I’m poorly,” said he.
The Sheriff of Badger George B. Pattullo

And how of the heap of trifles that you can see for yourselves in yonder corner?
The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle

The next moment the cloth slid down into a heap on the floor, and the letter disappeared.
A Prairie Courtship Harold Bindloss

“The Denson kids are a heap worse, if she only knew it,” he said, and followed her willingly.
Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower

She sprang lightly to the heap of nets, lost her balance, stumbled, and sat down very suddenly.
The Maids of Paradise Robert W. (Robert William) Chambers

a collection of articles or mass of material gathered together in one place
(informal) (often pl) usually foll by of. a large number or quantity
(Austral, slang) give them heaps, to contend strenuously with an opposing sporting team
(NZ, slang) give it heaps, to try very hard
(informal) a place or thing that is very old, untidy, unreliable, etc: the car was a heap
heaps, (intensifier): he said he was feeling heaps better
often foll by up or together. to collect or be collected into or as if into a heap or pile: to heap up wealth
(transitive; often foll by with, on, or upon) to load or supply (with) abundantly: to heap with riches

Old English heap “pile, great number, multitude” (of things or persons), from West Germanic *haupaz (cf. Old Saxon hop, Old Frisian hap, Middle Low German hupe, Dutch hoop, German Haufe “heap”), perhaps related to Old English heah “high.” Slang meaning “old car” is attested from 1924. As a characteristic word in American Indian English speech, “a lot, a great deal,” by 1832.

Old English heapian “collect, heap up, bring together;” from heap (n.). Related: Heaped; heaping. Cf. Old High German houfon “to heap.”


A car, esp an old ramshackle one; jalopy: I keep hoping somebody will steal this heap
Any old vehicle

Related Terms

junk heap

[1924+; a motorcyclists’ shortening of scrap heap]

1. An area of memory used for dynamic memory allocation where blocks of memory are allocated and freed in an arbitrary order and the pattern of allocation and size of blocks is not known until run time. Typically, a program has one heap which it may use for several different purposes.
Heap is required by languages in which functions can return arbitrary data structures or functions with free variables (see closure). In C functions malloc and free provide access to the heap.
Contrast stack. See also dangling pointer.
2. A data structure with its elements partially ordered (sorted) such that finding either the minimum or the maximum (but not both) of the elements is computationally inexpensive (independent of the number of elements), while both adding a new item and finding each subsequent smallest/largest element can be done in O(log n) time, where n is the number of elements.
Formally, a heap is a binary tree with a key in each node, such that all the leaves of the tree are on two adjacent levels; all leaves on the lowest level occur to the left and all levels, except possibly the lowest, are filled; and the key in the root is at least as large as the keys in its children (if any), and the left and right subtrees (if they exist) are again heaps.
Note that the last condition assumes that the goal is finding the minimum quickly.
Heaps are often implemented as one-dimensional arrays. Still assuming that the goal is finding the minimum quickly the invariant is
heap[i] where heap[i] denotes the i-th element, heap[1] being the first. Heaps can be used to implement priority queues or in sort algorithms.

When Joshua took the city of Ai (Josh. 8), he burned it and “made it an heap [Heb. tel] for ever” (8:28). The ruins of this city were for a long time sought for in vain. It has been at length, however, identified with the mound which simply bears the name of “Tel.” “There are many Tels in modern Palestine, that land of Tels, each Tel with some other name attached to it to mark the former site. But the site of Ai has no other name ‘unto this day.’ It is simply et-Tel, ‘the heap’ par excellence.”


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