[pil-yuh n]


a pad or cushion attached behind a saddle, especially as a seat for a woman.
a pad, cushion, saddle, or the like, used as a passenger seat on a bicycle, motor scooter, etc.
a passenger's saddle or seat behind the driver's seat on a motorcycle.

Origin of pillion

1495–1505; < Scots Gaelic pillinn or Irish pillín, diminutive of peall skin, rug blanket, MIr pell < Latin pellis skin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pillion

seat, howdah, packsaddle

Examples from the Web for pillion

Historical Examples of pillion

  • Oh, if you choose, I will put a pillion on Sweetbriar, and see how that works?


    Henry Peterson

  • There was necessarily a great waste of time in getting the pillion on Sweetbriar.


    Henry Peterson

  • Amphillis sat on the pillion, and meditated on her information as they journeyed on.

  • “If she wishes it, I will place a pillion on my horse, and she can ride behind me,” said Oliver.

    The Settlers

    William H. G. Kingston

  • In another minute Jane was seated on the pillion behind the king.

    Boscobel: or, the royal oak

    William Harrison Ainsworth

British Dictionary definitions for pillion



a seat or place behind the rider of a motorcycle, scooter, horse, etc


on a pillionto ride pillion

Word Origin for pillion

C16: from Gaelic; compare Scottish pillean, Irish pillīn couch; related to Latin pellis skin
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 pillion

kind of saddle, c.1500, of Celtic origin (cf. Irish pillin, Gaelic pillin), ultimately from Latin pellis "skin, pelt" (see film (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper