What is the meaning of "a whole heaping lot" ?

What is the meaning of "You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, for the place and people you're lucky you're not!" in the following sentence,

It's a troublesome world. All the people who're in it are troubled with troubles almost every minute. You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, for the place and people you're lucky you're not!


  • -1 This is the second question in which you have (1) not provided a source for the material you are quoting, and (2) provided a quotation that has an error in it. The quotation contains the people not people. Nov 24 '17 at 4:30
  • You have also not indicated any research. Nov 24 '17 at 4:31

A "heap" is a large pile of something. It's also commonly used as a figurative way to indicate a large quantity or degree of something:

I have heaps of homework, but I'll do it tomorrow.

"A whole heaping lot" is a figurative way to say "a great deal". Dr. Suess is saying that you should be very thankful you're not one of the many people in the world who have more serious problems than your own.

It's slightly nonsensical since you can't actually be a place, but I guess Dr. Seuss needed some extra words to fill out the stanza of the poem.


Dr Seuss?

Many people have troubles. Many places are troubled. You are lucky not to be these people. Or be in those places. You should be thankful that you’re not these people in these places. Very thankful.

Does this help? It’s poetry, so it’s purposely stated in a silly way.

  • Yes. I am reading the book of Dr Seuss. What is the meaning of "a whole heaping lot" in the sentence?
    – user22046
    Nov 12 '17 at 2:46

It's a made-up phrase, for rhythmic effect. Prosaically, it means You should be very, very thankful for the place and the people you're lucky you're not.

But Dr Seuss is not a prosaic poet!

  • Why do you consider it to be made up?
    – mathewb
    Nov 12 '17 at 3:59
  • @mathewb I think it's a made-up, or constructed term, for Seuss's purposes for the rhyme. As far as I am aware, and I don't have a lot of time to investigate further right now apart from doing a quick Google search, he seems to have coined it.
    – Livrecache
    Nov 15 '17 at 0:01
  • I question it because "a whole lot" is quite common, and then there are plenty of modifiers that can be thrown in to amplify the intensity. In fact, I'm inclined to think that "a whole heaping lot" is also a euphemism for the same term as mentioned in this link. It is, of course, much more children-friendly.
    – mathewb
    Nov 15 '17 at 18:38
  • @mathewb, I see what you mean. I hadn't been thinking about it like that. You're right of course about modifying "a whole lot" to amplify the intensity. And now I will never read Dr Seuss in the same way again! I will be constantly replacing modifiers in my head.
    – Livrecache
    Nov 16 '17 at 23:07

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