verb (used with object), pil·laged, pil·lag·ing.

to strip ruthlessly of money or goods by open violence, as in war; plunder: The barbarians pillaged every conquered city.
to take as booty.

verb (used without object), pil·laged, pil·lag·ing.

to rob with open violence; take booty: Soldiers roamed the countryside, pillaging and killing.


the act of plundering, especially in war.
booty or spoil.

Origin of pillage

1350–1400; Middle English pilage (see pill3, -age), modeled on Middle French pillage (derivative of piller to pillage, orig., to abuse, mistreat, tear, of uncertain origin)
Related formspil·lag·er, nounun·pil·laged, adjective

Synonyms for pillage

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pillager

Historical Examples of pillager

British Dictionary definitions for pillager



to rob (a town, village, etc) of (booty or spoils), esp during a war


the act of pillaging
something obtained by pillaging; booty
Derived Formspillager, noun

Word Origin for pillage

C14: via Old French from piller to despoil, probably from peille rag, from Latin pīleus felt cap
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 pillager



late 14c., "act of plundering" (especially in war), from Old French pilage (14c.) "plunder," from pillier "to plunder, loot, ill-treat," possibly from Vulgar Latin *piliare "to plunder," probably from a figurative use of Latin pilare "to strip of hair," perhaps also meaning "to skin" (cf. figurative extension of verbs pluck, fleece), from pilus "a hair" (see pile (n.3)).



"plunder, despoil," 1590s, from pillage (n.). Related: Pillaged; pillaging. The earlier verb in English was simply pill (late Old English), which probably is from Latin pilare.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper