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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.
Origin and Etymology of pillory
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
Examples of pillory in a Sentence
The press pilloried the judge for her decision.
Recent Examples of pillory from the Web
Schulz has pilloried Merkel for dodging the pension issue throughout the campaign, though with little obvious effect.
Juicero’s investors, however, point the finger at another culprit altogether: the populist bias of tech reporters who pilloried their product online.
Early in his campaign Sen. Bernie Sanders was pilloried for suggesting that low-skilled immigrants would depress wages for American workers.
Suddenly, Hope dropped like a rock in the polls as she was pilloried in the media for dictatorial tendencies and excessive arrogance, a space that heretofore had been Abe’s exclusive turf.
The Rams no longer are mercilessly pilloried for selecting quarterback Jared Goff with the No.
Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer in the world, and he was still pilloried by the public, stripped of his title, and exiled.
Gina Champion-Cain, American National Investments NO: The federal deficit's ever increasing size has been pilloried unmercifully for over a decade.
During the campaign, Trump was pilloried for retweeting an image that was widely perceived as anti-Semitic.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pillory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of pillory
PILLORY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pillory for English Language Learners
: to publicly criticize (someone) in a very harsh way
PILLORY Defined for Kids
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