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pillory

[pil-uh-ree]
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noun, plural pil·lo·ries.
  1. a wooden framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used to expose an offender to public derision.
verb (used with object), pil·lo·ried, pil·lo·ry·ing.
  1. to set in the pillory.
  2. to expose to public derision, ridicule, or abuse: The candidate mercilessly pilloried his opponent.

Origin of pillory

1225–75; Middle English pyllory < Old French pilori, perhaps < Medieval Latin pīlōrium, equivalent to Latin pīl(a) pillar (see pile1) + -ōrium -ory2, though Romance variants such as Provençal espillori suggest a less transparent source
Related formsun·pil·lo·ried, adjective
Can be confusedpillar pillory pillow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pilloried

pillory

noun plural -ries
  1. a wooden framework into which offenders were formerly locked by the neck and wrists and exposed to public abuse and ridicule
  2. exposure to public scorn or abuse
verb -ries, -rying or -ried (tr)
  1. to expose to public scorn or ridicule
  2. to punish by putting in a pillory

Word Origin

C13: from Anglo-Latin pillorium, from Old French pilori, of uncertain origin; related to Provençal espillori
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

Word Origin and History for pilloried

pillory

n.

late 13c. (attested in Anglo-Latin from late 12c.), from Old French pilori "pillory" (mid-12c.), related to Medieval Latin pilloria, of uncertain origin, perhaps a diminutive of Latin pila "pillar, stone barrier" (see pillar), but OED finds this proposed derivation "phonologically unsuitable."

pillory

v.

c.1600, from pillory (n.). Figurative sense of "expose publicly to ridicule or abuse" is from 1690s. Related: Pilloried.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper