In heraldry, a large triangle or wedge, normally hanging from the top of the shield, but not quite covering all the width of the top, and pointing towards the bottom, but not touching it. Its exact dimensions vary with what else goes on the shield. It is possible to have two piles, hanging down like fangs, or even a third one issuing from the base of the shield between them, so that all that is left visible of the field is a kind of W-shaped area.

Piles may occasionally start from any part of the shield, except that if it is a triangle on the base pointing upward it would normally be described as a division 'per chevron'.

When three piles occur pointing downward, they may all point in parallel, or if described as 'piles in point' the outer two slant so that the three points come close together.

Pile (?), n. [L. pilus hair. Cf. Peruke.]


A hair; hence, the fiber of wool, cotton, and the like; also, the nap when thick or heavy, as of carpeting and velvet.

Velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile. Cowper.

2. Zool.

A covering of hair or fur.


© Webster 1913.

Pile, n. [L. pilum javelin. See Pile a stake.]

The head of an arrow or spear.




© Webster 1913.

Pile, n. [AS. pil arrow, stake, L. pilum javelin; but cf. also L. pila pillar.]


A large stake, or piece of timber, pointed and driven into the earth, as at the bottom of a river, or in a harbor where the ground is soft, for the support of a building, a pier, or other superstructure, or to form a cofferdam, etc.

⇒ Tubular iron piles are now much used.

2. [Cf. F. pile.] Her.

One of the ordinaries or subordinaries having the form of a wedge, usually placed palewise, with the broadest end uppermost.

Pile bridge, a bridge of which the roadway is supported on piles. -- Pile cap, a beam resting upon and connecting the heads of piles. -- Pile driver, ∨ Pile engine, an apparatus for driving down piles, consisting usually of a high frame, with suitable appliances for raising to a height (by animal or steam power, the explosion of gunpowder, etc.) a heavy mass of iron, which falls upon the pile. -- Pile dwelling. See Lake dwelling, under Lake. -- Pile plank Hydraul. Eng., a thick plank used as a pile in sheet piling. See Sheet piling, under Piling. -- Pneumatic pile. See under Pneumatic. -- Screw pile, one with a screw at the lower end, and sunk by rotation aided by pressure.


© Webster 1913.

Pile, v. t.

To drive piles into; to fill with piles; to strengthen with piles.

To sheet-pile, to make sheet piling in or around. See Sheet piling, under 2nd Piling.


© Webster 1913.

Pile, n. [F. pile, L. pila a pillar, a pier or mole of stone. Cf. Pillar.]


A mass of things heaped together; a heap; as, a pile of stones; a pile of wood.


A mass formed in layers; as, a pile of shot.


A funeral pile; a pyre.



A large building, or mass of buildings.

The pile o'erlooked the town and drew the fight. Dryden.

5. Iron Manuf.

Same as Fagot, n., 2.

6. Elec.

A vertical series of alternate disks of two dissimilar metals, as copper and zinc, laid up with disks of cloth or paper moistened with acid water between them, for producing a current of electricity; -- commonly called Volta's pile, voltaic pile, or galvanic pile.

⇒ The term is sometimes applied to other forms of apparatus designed to produce a current of electricity, or as synonymous with battery; as, for instance, to an apparatus for generating a current of electricity by the action of heat, usually called a thermopile.

7. [F. pile pile, an engraved die, L. pila a pillar.]

The reverse of a coin. See Reverse.

Cross and pile. See under Cross. -- Dry pile. See under Dry.


© Webster 1913.

Pile, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Piled (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Piling.]


To lay or throw into a pile or heap; to heap up; to collect into a mass; to accumulate; to amass; -- often with up; as, to pile up wood.

"Hills piled on hills." Dryden. "Life piled on life." Tennyson.

The labor of an age in piled stones. Milton.


To cover with heaps; or in great abundance; to fill or overfill; to load.

To pile armsmuskets Mil., to place three guns together so that they may stand upright, supporting each other; to stack arms.


© Webster 1913.

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