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1

pillory

play
noun pil·lo·ry \ˈpi-lə-rē, ˈpil-rē\

Simple Definition of pillory

  • : a device that was used in the past for punishing someone in public and that consists of a wooden frame with holes in which the head and hands can be locked

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pillory

plural

pillories

  1. 1 :  a device formerly used for publicly punishing offenders consisting of a wooden frame with holes in which the head and hands can be locked

  2. 2 :  a means for exposing one to public scorn or ridicule

Did You Know?

In days gone by, criminals who got caught might well have found themselves in the stocks (which held the feet or both feet and hands) or a pillory. Both of those forms of punishment - and the words that name them - have been around since the Middle Ages. We latched onto "pillory" from the Anglo-French pilori (which has the same meaning as our English term), but the exact origins of the French term are uncertain. For centuries, "pillory" referred only to the wooden frame used to hold a ne'er-do-well, but by the early 1600s, folks had turned the word into a verb for the act of putting someone in a pillory. Within a century, they had further expanded the verb to cover any process that led to as much public humiliation as being pilloried.

Illustration of pillory

Origin and Etymology of pillory

Middle English, from Anglo-French pilori


First Known Use: 13th century


2

pillory

verb pil·lo·ry

Simple Definition of pillory

  • : to publicly criticize (someone) in a very harsh way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pillory

pilloried

pillorying

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to set in a pillory as punishment

  3. 2 :  to expose to public contempt, ridicule, or scorn

Examples of pillory in a sentence

  1. The press pilloried the judge for her decision.



Circa 1600

First Known Use of pillory

circa 1600


PILLORY Defined for Kids

pillory

play
noun pil·lo·ry \ˈpi-lə-rē\

Definition of pillory for Students

plural

pillories

  1. :  a device once used for punishing someone in public consisting of a wooden frame with holes in which the head and hands can be locked




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