pillar

[pil-er]
See more synonyms for pillar on Thesaurus.com
noun
  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.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Nautical. mast1(def 2).
verb (used with object)
  1. to provide or support with pillars.
Idioms
  1. from pillar to post,
    1. aimlessly from place to place.
    2. uneasily from one bad situation or predicament to another.

Origin of pillar

1175–1225; Middle English pillare < Medieval Latin pīlāre (see pile1, -ar2); replacing earlier piler < Old French < Medieval Latin, as above
Related formspil·lared, adjectivepil·lar·like, adjectiveun·pil·lared, adjective
Can be confusedpillar pillory pillow

Synonyms for pillar

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Synonym study

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


Examples from the Web for pillar

Contemporary Examples of pillar

Historical Examples of pillar

  • When LOT swapped his wife away for a pillar of salt, the trade was free.

  • Behind it, at the corner of a pillar, was an ever-burning altar-lamp.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • In an hour we can raise a pillar of ice ten feet high, and that is quite enough.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • Crowded against the pillar I could not escape and so tried to appear unconcerned.

  • They threatened between them to fix her there in a pillar of snow.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for pillar

pillar

noun
  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 functiona pillar of stones; a pillar of smoke
  3. a tall, slender, usually sheer rock column, forming a separate top
  4. a prominent supportera pillar of the Church
  5. from pillar to post from one place to another
verb
  1. (tr) to support with or as if with pillars

Word Origin for pillar

C13: from Old French pilier, from Latin pīla; see pile 1
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 pillar
n.

c.1200, from Old French piler "pillar, column, pier" (12c., Modern French pilier) and directly from Medieval Latin pilare, from Latin pila "pillar, stone barrier." Figurative sense of "prop or support of an institution or community" is first recorded early 14c. Phrase pillar to post is c.1600, originally of tennis, exact meaning obscure.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pillar in Medicine

pillar

[pĭlər]
n.
  1. A structure or part that provides support and resembles a column or pillar.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.