Entries linking to ash-heap
"powdery remains of fire," Middle English asshe, from Old English æsce "ash," from Proto-Germanic *askon (source also of Old Norse and Swedish aska, Old High German asca, German asche, Middle Dutch asche, Gothic azgo "ashes"), from PIE root *as- "to burn, glow." Spanish and Portuguese ascua "red-hot coal" are Germanic loan-words.
An ancient symbol of grief or repentance; hence Ash Wednesday (c. 1300), from the custom introduced by Pope Gregory the Great of sprinkling ashes on the heads of penitents on the first day of Lent. Ashes meaning "mortal remains of a person" is attested from late 13c., in reference to the ancient custom of cremation. The meaning "finely pulverized lava thrown from a volcano" is from 1660s.
Old English heap "pile (of things); great number, crowd, multitude (of persons)," from West Germanic *haupaz (source also of Old Saxon hop, Old Frisian hap, Middle Low German hupe, Dutch hoop, German Haufe "heap"), of uncertain origin. The group is perhaps related to Old English heah "high" (see high), but OED suggests a common origin with Latin cubare "lie down," and Boutkan says it is probably not Indo-European at all.
Slang meaning "old car" is attested from 1924. Earlier it meant "slovenly woman" (1806). As a characteristic word in American Indian English speech, "a lot, a great deal," by 1832.
One grain of sand does not make a heap. A second grain of sand added to the first does not make a heap. Indeed each and every grain of sand, when added to the others, does not make a heap which was not a heap before. Therefore, all the grains of sand in existence can still not a heap make. [the fallacy of the heap, as described in Malcolm Murray and Nebojsa Kujundzic, "Critical Reflection," 2005]
updated on September 26, 2022