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[pil-yuh n] /ˈpɪl yən/
a pad or cushion attached behind a saddle, especially as a seat for a woman.
a pad, cushion, saddle, or the like, used as a passenger seat on a bicycle, motor scooter, etc.
a passenger's saddle or seat behind the driver's seat on a motorcycle.
Origin of pillion
1495-1505; < Scots Gaelic pillinn or Irish pillín, diminutive of peall skin, rug blanket, MIr pell < Latin pellis skin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pillion
Historical Examples
  • Oh, if you choose, I will put a pillion on Sweetbriar, and see how that works?

    Dulcibel Henry Peterson
  • There was necessarily a great waste of time in getting the pillion on Sweetbriar.

    Dulcibel Henry Peterson
  • Amphillis sat on the pillion, and meditated on her information as they journeyed on.

    The White Lady of Hazelwood Emily Sarah Holt
  • “If she wishes it, I will place a pillion on my horse, and she can ride behind me,” said Oliver.

    The Settlers William H. G. Kingston
  • In another minute Jane was seated on the pillion behind the king.

    Boscobel: or, the royal oak William Harrison Ainsworth
  • To this sympathetic remark from the pillion, the saddle made no reply.

    Barry Lyndon William Makepeace Thackeray
  • I s'pose they hated the idee of gettin' off of that pillion, and onhitchin' that ox.

    Sweet Cicely Josiah Allen's Wife: Marietta Holley
  • Why not send for Mr. Boyce, and carry her off at once on a pillion behind you?

    The Small House at Allington

    Anthony Trollope
  • The farmer traveled on horseback with his wife on the pillion behind.

    The Story of American History Albert F. Blaisdell
  • Metcalfe smiled as he heard the latch lifted, and took the pillion from her.

    The Strange Story Book Mrs. Andrew Lang
British Dictionary definitions for pillion


a seat or place behind the rider of a motorcycle, scooter, horse, etc
on a pillion: to ride pillion
Word Origin
C16: from Gaelic; compare Scottish pillean, Irish pillīn couch; related to Latin pellis skin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pillion

kind of saddle, c.1500, of Celtic origin (cf. Irish pillin, Gaelic pillin), ultimately from Latin pellis "skin, pelt" (see film (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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