pil·​lar | \ ˈpi-lər How to pronounce pillar (audio) \

Definition of pillar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Synonyms for pillar

Synonyms: Noun

column, pier, pilaster, post, stanchion

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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

Atlanta has previously been hailed as a pillar of stability throughout Major League Baseball, though that reputation doesn't quite align with the Braves' record in the last two decades. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Six Postseason Storylines We're Already Looking Forward to," 11 Sep. 2019 Silver and her husband, Reuben, were both pillars of the Cleveland theater community. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland.com, "Many Ohio actors ended up in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’," 9 Aug. 2019 The resisters, who were stigmatized for decades as traitors, will be honored as pillars of the country’s modern democracy amid growing concerns about resurgence of the far-right. Fox News, "Germans who resisted Nazi regime honored on 75 anniversary of plot of kill Hitler," 20 July 2019 Part of the reason that stock has emerged as a major pillar of CEO compensation is a move to better link what an executive earns to what matter to investors — share price and dividends. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How much did San Diego’s top CEOS make last year? (Hint, their average pay went up 42%)," 14 July 2019 The city has historically relied on enhanced education and enforcement as key pillars of its strategy to combat pedestrian deaths. Agnel Philip, azcentral, "Phoenix's deadly streets became even deadlier in 2018. What's the city going to do about it?," 11 July 2019 In addition to the attendance issues, Miami is struggling with two significant financial pillars — stadium naming rights and its local media rights TV. Wells Dusenbury, sun-sentinel.com, "MLB worst: Marlins’ low attendance hit bottom Monday night," 27 Aug. 2019 Another pillar: acupuncture; she’s been getting as many as four treatments per month for 20 years, both electro-acupuncture through adhesive pads and sterile needles. Matt Fuchs, Washington Post, "Be like Serena and Roger: Older amateurs offer tips for maintaining your athletic edge.," 26 Aug. 2019 There may be a different hand on the pillar, at the helm, but the course won’t change. Tara Law, Time, "Interim Overstock CEO Talks to TIME About the Future After Scandal, And Patrick Byrne," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The team started working on the research which initially began in 2014 with the Staghorn coral, but then the focus shifted to pillar coral because of a disease that has been devastating to the Florida Reef Tract. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "A scientific breakthrough at the Florida Aquarium could save America's 'Great Barrier Reef'," 21 Aug. 2019 All six of the new Yuletide scents start at just $2 and come in various sizes from tiny tea lights and votive lights to pillar candles and large jars. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The 2018 Yankee Candle Christmas Scents Have Arrived and We Are So Ready," 5 Oct. 2018 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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Statistics for pillar

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce pillar (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pillar (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on pillar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pillar

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pillar

Spanish Central: Translation of pillar

Nglish: Translation of pillar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pillar for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pillar

Comments on pillar

What made you want to look up pillar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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