[ pil-ij ]
See 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.

verb (used without object),pil·laged, pil·lag·ing.
  1. to rob with open violence; take booty: Soldiers roamed the countryside, pillaging and killing.

  1. the act of plundering, especially in war.

  2. booty or spoil.

Origin of pillage

1350–1400; Middle English pilage (see pill3, -age), modeled on Middle French pillage (derivative of piller to pillage, originally, to abuse, mistreat, tear, of uncertain origin)

Other words for pillage

Other words from pillage

  • pil·lag·er, noun
  • un·pil·laged, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pillage in a sentence

  • Like all playwrights of the time he pillages from the French, and vulgarizes Molire without stint or shame.

  • The enemy pillages the temple of its pillars of brass, and the golden candlestick from off the altar.

  • He protects the populace, and ravages and pillages the great.

    Faustus | Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger
  • It seizes, it pillages, and it carries away, assured that all it does will be approved.

    The Insect | Jules Michelet
  • The wretched history of the town, with all its sieges and pillages by Barbarossa and the rest, might have been acted last year.

    Pictures from Italy | Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for pillage


/ (ˈpɪlɪdʒ) /

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

  1. the act of pillaging

  2. something obtained by pillaging; booty

Origin of pillage

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

Derived forms of pillage

  • pillager, noun

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