pile·​up | \ ˈpī(-ə)l-ˌəp How to pronounce pileup (audio) \

Definition of pileup

1 : a collision involving usually several motor vehicles
2a : a jammed tangled mass or pile (as of motor vehicles or people) resulting from collision or accumulation

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Examples of pileup in a Sentence

A five-car pileup slowed traffic. a pileup of e-mail messages that needed to be dealt with
Recent Examples on the Web Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach, Oliver Askew and Ed Carpenter all got caught up in a pileup near the rear of the field as the green flag dropped Saturday. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar race starts with multicar crash; Rossi, Andretti, Veach, Pagenaud, Carpenter exit race," 29 Aug. 2020 Trash pileup can not only attract rats, insects and other animals but also lead to surges of violence and cause injuries. Hallie Miller, baltimoresun.com, "Coronavirus in Maryland: 5 takeaways from the week," 28 Aug. 2020 Hospitals and clinics already under strain dread a pileup of new respiratory infections, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), another seasonal pathogen that can cause serious illness in young children and the elderly. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "How will COVID-19 affect the coming flu season? Scientists struggle for clues," 14 Aug. 2020 The squealing guitars and pounding drumline, juxtaposed with Alexis Krauss's high vocals, will go nicely with the chaos (see: that 27-car pileup, Alice’s rapid-fire visions) that the Cullens cause on their way to the ballet studio. Denise Warner, Billboard, "They’ll Probably Never Make A ‘Midnight Sun’ Movie, But We’ve Dreamt Up the Soundtrack Just in Case," 13 Aug. 2020 That’s the case in Lebanon, a small country buckling under a shocking pileup of calamities. Washington Post, "Beirut’s blast and Lebanon’s deeper crisis," 6 Aug. 2020 But unlike many people who are stressing over the pileup of pandemic clutter, McLane can turn to her neuroscience background for some perspective. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "Why pandemic stress breeds clutter—and how to break the cycle," 4 Aug. 2020 The pileup has led to delays for applicants knocked from their economic perch, many of them reaching for government help for the first time. Washington Post, "Ten bucks left, no place to go: How the pandemic and a broken unemployment system are upending people’s lives," 1 Aug. 2020 And the pileup would slow the entire flow as people began to dodge around the obstacle almost immediately. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Fusion Has an Efficiency Problem. This Science May Solve It.," 24 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pileup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pileup

1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for pileup

Time Traveler

The first known use of pileup was in 1900

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Statistics for pileup

Last Updated

6 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pileup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pileup. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce pileup (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pileup

: an accident in which several or many vehicles crash into each other
: a large amount of something that has increased gradually over a period of time

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