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

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Examples of pillar in a Sentence

Noun 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 Universal public education is a pillar of the French republican model. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "French parents weigh the risk of sending their children back to school," 10 May 2020 The Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee evaluates candidates on the program’s three pillars: athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Gatorade still intends to honor spring sports high school athletes," 30 Apr. 2020 The program is based on three pillars: protecting campaigns from being hacked, combating disinformation and securing the voting process. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Is this the future of voting? Microsoft brings latest in voting technology for a test run in small-town Wisconsin," 18 Feb. 2020 The bankruptcy represents a painful turn for an organization that has been a pillar of American civic life for generations and a training ground for future leaders. David Crary, Anchorage Daily News, "Boy Scouts’ future uncertain after bankruptcy filing amid sex-abuse lawsuits," 18 Feb. 2020 Its mission is to address issues facing children today by concentrating on three main pillars: Well-being, online safety, and opioid abuse. Shannon Donnelly, USA TODAY, "Florida university to honor first lady Melania Trump with annual 'Woman of Distinction' award," 9 Jan. 2020 The Sustainable Europe Investment Plan will be the financial pillar of the Green Deal, a sweeping strategy to eliminate greenhouse gases by the middle of the century. Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg.com, "Plan to Kickstart EU’s Green Deal Comes With $1 Trillion in Cash," 7 May 2020 Trump has made the border wall a pillar of his reelection pitch, promising to finish 500 miles by early next year, a goal that will require crews to nearly double their pace in coming months. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump order to paint border wall black could drive up cost $500 million or more," 6 May 2020 Many residents in the county, which is one of the state’s poorest, considered Cox a pillar of the community. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Despite COVID-19 concerns, Indiana's Caviar King denied release from federal prison," 6 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The tall windows, pillared facade, rooftop balustrade, and 90-foot-high rotunda of the main building give it the look of a chateau. Adam Hochschild, The Atlantic, "The Fight to Decolonize the Museum," 15 Dec. 2019 The recovery initiative is pillared by a breeding program and habitat safeguards. Helena Amante, Smithsonian, "How the Iberian Lynx Bounced Back From the Brink of Extinction," 8 Oct. 2019 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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Time Traveler for pillar

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pillar

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pillar.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pillar. Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for pillar


How to pronounce pillar (audio)

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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