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See more synonyms for pillage on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), pil·laged, pil·lag·ing.
  1. to strip ruthlessly of money or goods by open violence, as in war; plunder: The barbarians pillaged every conquered city.
  2. to take as booty.
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verb (used without object), pil·laged, pil·lag·ing.
  1. to rob with open violence; take booty: Soldiers roamed the countryside, pillaging and killing.
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  1. the act of plundering, especially in war.
  2. booty or spoil.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for pillager

Historical Examples

  • The Crown Prince has been pictured as a libertine and a pillager.

    Face to Face with Kaiserism

    James W. Gerard

  • I appear as the benefactor, and not as the pillager, of the Indians.

    The Conquest

    Eva Emery Dye

  • This seems to refer to the profession of brigand and pillager.

  • Is she a poacher, a pillager of other's property, or a genuine huntress?

    More Hunting Wasps

    J. Henri Fabre

  • You are the Eletto of Aalst, the pillager of cities, and this cannot be swept aside as easily as the dust from the floor.

British Dictionary definitions for pillager


  1. to rob (a town, village, etc) of (booty or spoils), esp during a war
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  1. the act of pillaging
  2. something obtained by pillaging; booty
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Derived Formspillager, noun

Word Origin

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)).

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper