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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pillar


pillarless adjective

Synonyms for pillar

Synonyms: Noun

column, pier, pilaster, post, stanchion

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Students later observed a minute of silence in remembrance of the crackdown’s victims before scrubbing the pillar clean in an annual ritual. Washington Post, "Hong Kong activists hold Tiananmen candlelight vigil," 5 June 2019 The company also has several pillars to guide its monthly community giving efforts. Drivetime, azcentral, "DriveTime brings a collaborative team together to match buyers with dream cars," 4 June 2019 Its high ceilings and glass windows let in a ton of natural light to the great room, illuminating the giant white pillars that have been around since the home was first constructed in the 1860s as a jewelry showroom. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The Giant Soho Loft From MTV’s The Real World is On The Market For $7.5 Million," 24 May 2019 The floral designs came to life in white vases filled with blooming buds and pink ranunculus, while the intimate setting reflected the brand’s pillar of sisterhood and community. Neesha Arter, Vogue, "The Dôen Sisters Host a California Dreamy Dinner to Celebrate a New Line With Net-a-Porter," 2 May 2019 Finally, the chipset will support Thunderbolt 3, which began to win out two years ago and is now one of the pillars of USB4. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel's 9th-gen mobile Core chips aim for the high end, rocking 8 cores at up to 5GHz speeds," 23 Apr. 2019 The other welcome pillar of Apple’s push into services is privacy and security. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Apple now wants to do pretty much everything for you, but will you save money?," 25 Mar. 2019 In addition to logging food, the other pillar of the Weight Watchers lexicon is community. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "As “dieting” becomes more taboo, Weight Watchers is changing its name," 24 Sep. 2018 Now, these two pillars of Silicon Valley’s mythos are in tension, just as the collateral damage from the industry’s rise to power has come into focus, and the public’s lack of visibility into their operations becomes evident. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "The Line Between Big Tech and Defense Work," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pillar

Statistics for pillar

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pillar

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!