[ 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 formsun·pil·lo·ried, adjective
Can be confusedpillar pillory pillow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pillorying

  • Which is probably just as well, given the forests that have been destroyed in service of pillorying John Edwards.

  • He knew the boy could not do it, and this was only a formula he went through previous to pillorying the lad.

  • There are some people who delight in pillorying the immortals and shying dead cats and rotten eggs at them.

    Windfalls|(AKA Alpha of the Plough) Alfred George Gardiner
  • Who ever proposed to insist on pillorying every case of spasmodic adultery?

    Three Plays by Granville-Barker|Harley Granville-Barker

British Dictionary definitions for pillorying


/ (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