It’s obvious what this word means, and I can’t believe it has taken me so long to mention it on this blog. Heaps is synonymous with a lot, and it isn’t a strange word in itself. It’s more the frequency and nature of how Australians use this word that makes it unique. Not only do they use it where Canadians would say “a lot”, they also use it in place of “so”. For example, one could say “I’m heaps tired,” or “That’s heaps cool.” One could even tack an “ay” onto the end of those statements to make them uber Australian, but that might just be a New South Wales thing.
When I returned to Canada after my first visit down under, heaps had plainly become a large part of my diction. I got comments on it all the time, and I think it played a big part in why people thought I sounded “so Australian” when I got back. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pick up an accent, so it must have been the use of this word that tipped people off about my Australian wanderings. That and my prolific use of the word “reckon”.