View synonyms for pillar


[ pil-er ]


  1. an upright shaft or structure, of stone, brick, or other material, relatively slender in proportion to its height, and of any shape in section, used as a building support, or standing alone, as for a monument:

    Gothic pillars; a pillar to commemorate Columbus.

    Synonyms: pier, pilaster

  2. a natural formation resembling such a construction:

    a pillar of rock; a pillar of smoke.

  3. any upright, supporting part; post:

    the pillar of a table.

  4. a person who is a chief supporter of a society, state, institution, etc.:

    a pillar of the community.

  5. a basis or support:

    The government regards agriculture and trade as fundamental pillars for the future economy.

  6. a core tenet, belief, or religious act, especially in Islam:

    As the fifth pillar of Islam, every Muslim is obligated to make pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime as long as it is possible.

    The Ten Commandments are considered to be pillars of both Judaism and Christianity.

  7. Horology. any of several short parts for spacing and keeping in the proper relative positions two plates holding the bearings of a watch or clock movement.
  8. Mining. an isolated mass of rock or ore in a mine, usually serving as a roof support in early operations and later removed, wholly or in part.
  9. Nautical. mast 1( def 2 ).

verb (used with object)

  1. to provide or support with pillars.


/ ˈpɪlə /


  1. an upright structure of stone, brick, metal, etc, that supports a superstructure or is used for ornamentation
  2. something resembling this in shape or function

    a pillar of smoke

    a pillar of stones

  3. a tall, slender, usually sheer rock column, forming a separate top
  4. a prominent supporter

    a pillar of the Church

  5. from pillar to post
    from one place to another


  1. tr to support with or as if with pillars
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Other Words From

  • pil·lared adjective
  • pil·lar·like adjective
  • un·pil·lared adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of pillar1

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English piler(e), pileir, pillar(e) from Old French piler, pileir, piller, and Medieval Latin pīlāre, pīlārium, pīlārius, from Latin pīla pile 1; -ar 1( def )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of pillar1

C13: from Old French pilier, from Latin pīla; see pile 1
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. from pillar to post,
    1. aimlessly from place to place.
    2. uneasily from one bad situation or predicament to another.
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Synonym Study

See column.
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Example Sentences

One of the main pillars in our attempt to keep numbers low was intense contact tracing.

Einstein built general relativity on some pillars called Einstein’s principles.

This latter pillar has been eroding over the years, with the last independent poll conducted in 2016 showing only 30% support for the president.

Ortiz and HKS cantilevered the decks at Globe Life Field to produce more overhang than in the retro parks but without the obstructive steel pillars of the jewel box parks.

The clustered content links back to the pillar page, lifting the authority of the pillar page which highlights its importance.

While many Hawaiians still secretly worshipped the old gods, kapu was dead as a public pillar of the social structure.

In another generation, it will be useless, leading visitors straight into a pillar.

That morning, Israeli Air Force launched Operation Pillar of Defense in response to hundreds of incoming rockets from Gaza.

Yet over the course of this season, Sansa has become a pillar of strong womanhood.

I live just 45 minutes from my childhood home, so I am hardly the pillar of independence.

He that possesseth a good wife, beginneth a possession: she is a help like to himself, and a pillar of rest.

I insisted on her taking my own rocker, while I fixed myself on the floor with a pillar for a back-rest.

To solve this one I stopped on the tavern steps, leaned against a pillar, and gazed through the dozing village.

Up the tube vapours may be seen ascending at great speed, the whole appearing like a gigantic pillar of swiftly revolving smoke.

For a pillar of the Church, Billy displayed rather amazing tastes and abilities.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.