Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun \ˈstak\

Simple Definition of stack

  • : a usually neat pile : a group of things that are put one on top of the other

  • : a large amount of something

  • : a tall chimney on a factory, ship, etc., for carrying smoke away

Full Definition of stack

  1. 1 :  a large usually conical pile (as of hay, straw, or grain in the sheaf) left standing in the field for storage

  2. 2a :  an orderly pile or heapb :  a large quantity or number

  3. 3 :  an English unit of measure especially for firewood that is equal to 108 cubic feet

  4. 4a :  a number of flues embodied in one structure rising above a roofb :  a vertical pipe (as to carry off smoke)c :  the exhaust pipe of an internal combustion engine

  5. 5a :  a structure of bookshelves for compact storage of books —usually used in pluralb plural :  a section of a building housing such structures

  6. 6 :  a pile of poker chips

  7. 7a :  a memory or a section of memory in a computer for temporary storage in which the last item stored is the first retrieved; also :  a data structure that simulates a stack <a push-down stack>b :  a computer memory consisting of arrays of memory elements stacked one on top of another

Examples of stack

  1. He had arranged the letters in stacks.

  2. She took a magazine from near the top of the stack.

Origin of stack

Middle English stak, from Old Norse stakkr; akin to Russian stog stack and probably to Old English staca stake

First Known Use: 14th century

Other Agriculture/Gardening Terms




Simple Definition of stack

  • : to arrange (things) in a stack : to put (things) in a usually neat pile

  • : to cheat at a card game by arranging (a deck of cards) in a special way

  • —used to describe a situation in which one person, team, etc., is given an advantage over others often in a way that is unfair

Full Definition of stack

  • transitive verb
    1. 1a :  to arrange in a stack :  pileb :  to pile in or on <stacked the table with books> <stack the dishwasher>

    2. 2a :  to arrange secretly for cheating <stack a deck of cards>b :  to arrange or fix so as to make a particular result likely <the odds are stacked against us> <will stack juries to suit themselves — Patrice Horn>

    3. 3a :  to assign (an airplane) by radio to a particular altitude and position within a group circling before landingb :  to put into a waiting line <another dozen rigs are stacked up and waiting — P. H. Hutchins, Jr.>

    4. 4 :  compare —used with against <such a crime is nothing when stacked against a murder — Pete Censky>

    5. intransitive verb
    6. :  to form a stack

    stack·er noun

    Examples of stack

    1. She spent the afternoon splitting and stacking firewood.

    2. She stacked the plates in the cupboard.

    3. He stacked the books on the table.

    4. The other players accused him of stacking the deck.

    14th Century

    First Known Use of stack

    14th century

    Seen and Heard

    What made you want to look up stack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


    February 9, 2016

    marked by high spirits and laughter

    Get Word of the Day daily email!


    Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


    Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

    pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders duvet
    Name That Thing

    10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

    SCRABBLE® Sprint

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.