[ pil-uh-ree ]
/ ˈpɪl ə ri /

noun, plural pil·lo·ries.

a wooden framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used to expose an offender to public derision.

verb (used with object), pil·lo·ried, pil·lo·ry·ing.

to set in the pillory.
to expose to public derision, ridicule, or abuse: The candidate mercilessly pilloried his opponent.

Origin of pillory

1225–75; Middle English pyllory < Old French pilori, perhaps < Medieval Latin pīlōrium, equivalent to Latin pīl(a) pillar (see pile1) + -ōrium -ory2, though Romance variants such as Provençal espillori suggest a less transparent source

Related forms

un·pil·lo·ried, adjective

Can be confused

pillar pillory pillow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pillory

British Dictionary definitions for pillory


/ (ˈpɪlərɪ) /

noun plural -ries

a wooden framework into which offenders were formerly locked by the neck and wrists and exposed to public abuse and ridicule
exposure to public scorn or abuse

verb -ries, -rying or -ried (tr)

to expose to public scorn or ridicule
to punish by putting in a pillory

Word Origin for pillory

C13: from Anglo-Latin pillorium, from Old French pilori, of uncertain origin; related to Provençal espillori
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