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

The fatal pileup happened about 10:55 a.m. in the westbound lanes of I-66 before the exit for Route 28, according to Bill Delaney of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "One person killed in multivehicle crash on I-66 in Northern Virginia," 24 Aug. 2019 As a storm began to brew over Seattle, the intense fog caused a major pileup on the freeway, leaving a very pregnant Teddy (Kim Raver) sitting in traffic while in labor. Christina Dugan, PEOPLE.com, "Grey's Anatomy Stars Share Back-to-Work Photos While Filming Season 16," 1 Aug. 2019 Washington in the Trump era can often feel like a sort of bumper-car ride of competing news cycles, devolving into a pileup of rival controversies, scandals, and social-media contretemps. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "“Congratulations Again, Mr. President”: Trump and the Co-opting of the G.O.P.," 12 July 2019 But by the time Oldman’s character returns, a pileup of premises has made the movie unwieldy. Noel Murray, latimes.com, "Reviews: Gary Oldman in ‘Killers Anonymous’; plus ‘The 16th Episode’ and more," 27 June 2019 Bosa’s right ankle got injured Aug. 7 in a pileup at practice. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers Jerick McKinnon has familiar setback, Nick Bosa progressing well," 28 Aug. 2019 Footage from the scene showed at least two sedans, a small SUV and a pickup were involved in the pileup. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "9 injured in fiery multi-vehicle National City crash," 1 July 2019 The pileup of crises proves to be a bit more than director Alexandre Aja and screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen can handle. Noel Murray, latimes.com, "Review: Giant gators and a mega-hurricane are undermined by daddy issues in ‘Crawl’," 11 July 2019 Republicans say the pileup proves the tax measure is already delivering on its promise, while Democrats dismiss the announcements as public relations stunts and say that only sustained, widespread wage gains should count. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Choose your news on the tax law: Boom or Bust?," 30 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for pileup

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for pileup

The first known use of pileup was in 1900

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More Definitions for pileup



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

More from Merriam-Webster on pileup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pileup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pileup

Spanish Central: Translation of pileup

Comments on pileup

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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