[ pee-lohn ]
/ piˈloʊn /
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noun Southwestern U.S. (chiefly Texas).
something extra; lagniappe.
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Origin of pilon

1880–85; Americanism;<Mexican Spanish pilón literally, trough, mortar, Spanish: derivative of pila basin, trough <Latin pīla mortar
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does pilon mean?

Pilon is an informal regional term that means a little something extra—a bonus. It’s primarily used in Texas and some parts of the Southwestern U.S.

Pilon typically refers to something additional given to a customer for free when they’re making a purchase. This is often done as a nice gesture on the part of the seller, kind of like when you get 13 items for the prize of 12 in a “baker’s dozen.”

The regional term lagniappe is used to mean about the same thing in Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas.

Example: The fruit vendor at the farmer’s market said he’d throw in a carton of strawberries as a pilon since I’m such a loyal customer.

Where does pilon come from?

The first records of the word pilon in English come from the 1880s. It comes from the Mexican Spanish word pilón, which is literally translated as “trough” or “mortar,” from the Spanish pila, “basin.” It’s not entirely clear how the word came to refer to a bonus or extra item.

The word is sometimes spelled pilón in English (with the accent mark over the o).

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What are some other forms related to pilon?

  • pilón (alternate spelling, reflecting its origin in Spanish)

What are some synonyms for pilon?

What are some words that often get used in discussing pilon?


How is pilon used in real life?

Pilon is very rarely used outside of Texas and other parts of the Southwest, and even in those regions it’s not all that commonly used.


Try using pilon!

Which of the following things could be considered a pilon?

A. a free piece of candy included with a purchase
B. a 13th doughnut included for the price of 12
C. Extra firewood included with an order at no extra cost
D. all of the above

How to use pilon in a sentence