Is there a word to describe a crowd fallen to the ground? You know, like a heap of people that have fallen due a stampede or the like.

I am using "melee", but it doesn't seem to carry the sense of lying on the ground.

For example: A rush for the gate created chaos, resulting in a great number of people left in a ___________.

EDIT: The previous example, typed by Chappo, catches the idea pretty well. Nonetheless, let me put that in a more detailed situation:

Here is, a group of, say, twenty knights walking down a path and then, all of the sudden, a dragon come out from the woods in front of all of them. The first ones noticed the threat immediately, so they start walking backwards, but those at the back hadn't notice it so they are either stopped or still waking forward. So, in this struggle, some fall down to the ground, but then others fall onto the ones that have fallen before, until there's a heap of knights.

Hope you get the idea. TIA.

  • to fall to the ground. Usually, crowds don't all fall to the ground at the same time unless a movie director tell them to....when would that even happen? Even with an earthquake there would be differences.... a heap of people or a melee would not apply to a crowd...I can't imagine 500 people in a heap or melee.....heaps and melees imply stacking.....the crowd fell flat on the ground. Melee is on the ground, but they are on top of each other. Like a heap.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 22:56
  • 1
    Are you asking for a word to describe: “The stampede had passed but in it’s wake were left the bodies of the victims, strewn over the ground as far as the eye could see.”
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 23:55
  • 2
    Hi Fran, welcome to English Language & Usage. This is a case of single-word-requests, so I've added the tag. You might not be aware that there are strict rules for SWRs: "To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. You must include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used." I've added this in an edit (please check that I've captured what you're asking for). If you have other SWRs, remember to add a sample sentence :-) Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 23:59
  • 1
    Well, I don't know exactly the word you're looking for, but if you describe the consequence as the people being trampled, it would convey the imagery. That's the word that's generally used when describing what happens to people in that situation. If they were injured you could say "resulting in a great number of people being trampled." You could add "to death" if they died. It implies falling down and being stepped on, not just falling down, but from your context that pretty much looks like what's happening.
    – Jason C
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 0:49
  • "Crowd collapse" is a somewhat technical term. As Wikipedia explains sometimes one person in a tight crowd falls over and then others progressively fall into the space opened up.
    – bdsl
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 8:08

1 Answer 1




Noun dogpile ‎(plural dogpiles)

A mound of people, especially people who are fighting or celebrating.  

1977, Billy Knott and James Tate, Lucky Darryl1, ISBN 0913722103, page 7: The crowd lept into a wrestling dogpile, each trying to grab as many of the black slips as possible.



The definition of a dogpile is a heap of people or things

An example of a dogpile is a bunch of football players piled together in a struggle for the ball.

  • 1
    I think this gets close, but I've always taken a dogpile to be a deliberate piling up of people, whereas the OP seems to want an accidental one. (Also, thanks for bringing up a happy memory: "Dog pile on the Rabbit! Dog pile on the Rabbit!")
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 18:32

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