pil·lar | \ ˈpi-lər \

Definition of pillar 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a firm upright support for a superstructure : post

b : a usually ornamental column or shaft especially : one standing alone for a monument

2a : a supporting, integral, or upstanding member or part a pillar of society

b : a fundamental precept the five pillars of Islam

3 : a solid mass of coal, rock, or ore left standing to support a mine roof

4 : a body part that resembles a column

from pillar to post

: from one place or one predicament to another


pillared; pillaring; pillars

Definition of pillar (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to provide or strengthen with or as if with pillars

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Other words from pillar


pillarless adjective

Examples of pillar in a Sentence


the ancient Greek temple boasted graceful marble pillars with richly ornamented tops my father has been my pillar throughout this crisis

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For these women, the Ahmads are a pillar of strength. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "After 26 years working with at-risk teens, can a Philly couple forgive the one who killed their son?," 13 July 2018 Japan's fleet of fighter jets is a pillar of the country's defense. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Now Northrop Grumman Wants to Build Japan's New Fighter Jet," 9 July 2018 Dow Dropout General Electric will drop out of the Dow industrials next week, a milestone in the decline of a company that once ranked among the mightiest of blue chips and was a pillar of the U.S. economy. Matt Murray, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 20 June 2018 His management career took off in mid-2006, when he was appointed head of the Asian Pacific region, at a time when China was a central pillar of BASF’s growth strategy. Andrew Marc Noel, Bloomberg.com, "BASF's New CEO Urged to Upgrade Portfolio, Seek Acquisitions," 4 May 2018 Land reform had always been a pillar of Zimbabwean independence, and no one can fault it on principle: Zimbabwe was a highly unequal country, with 6,000 white farmers hoarding the country’s most fertile land. Karan Mahajan, The New Republic, "After the Strongman," 26 Mar. 2018 Sightlines are basically unimpeded but drivers will want to take a second look right where the wide base of the windshield pillar meets the broad base of the side mirror. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play," 13 July 2018 On Friday, pillar candles in glass holders flickered along the walkway leading to the playhouse as a bubble machine nearby churned out bubbles — one of Ireland's favorite things, her grandmother said. Glenn E. Rice, kansascity, "Grandma turns playhouse into memorial for granddaughters found dead in Clay County," 6 July 2018 Those pillars are economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership. Nicholas Deshais, The Seattle Times, "Spokane picked by HUD for initiative aimed at helping the poor off federal aid," 9 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The former governor of California took the oak in the marble pillared chambers of the Supreme Court. Sacbee, sacbee.com, "Warren sworn in as U.S. chief justice," 19 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pillar.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pillar


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1787, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pillar


Middle English piler, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin pilare, from Latin pila

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Phrases Related to pillar

pillar of strength

Statistics for pillar

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pillar

The first known use of pillar was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for pillar



English Language Learners Definition of pillar

: a large post that helps to hold up something (such as a roof)

: someone who is an important member of a group

: a basic fact, idea, or principle of something


pil·lar | \ ˈpi-lər \

Kids Definition of pillar

1 : a large post that supports something (as a roof)

2 : a single column built as a monument

3 : a supporting or important member or part He was a pillar of society.

4 : something that resembles a column in shape pillars of smoke


pil·lar | \ ˈpil-ər \

Medical Definition of pillar 

: a body part likened to a pillar or column (as the margin of the external inguinal ring) specifically : pillar of the fauces

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