pil·​low | \ˈpi-(ˌ)lō \

Definition of pillow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a support for the head of a reclining person especially : one consisting of a cloth bag filled with feathers, down, sponge rubber, or plastic fiber

b : something resembling a pillow especially in form

2 : a cushion or pad tightly stuffed and used as a support for the design and tools in making lace with a bobbin


pillowed; pillowing; pillows

Definition of pillow (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to rest or lay on or as if on a pillow

2 : to serve as a pillow for

intransitive verb

: to lay or rest one's head on or as if on a pillow

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Other Words from pillow


pillowy \ ˈpi-​lə-​wē \ adjective

Examples of pillow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bring note paper, small hand towel, one or two yoga mats and two pillows, and wear loose, comfortable clothing. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Women's club serves up beer, wine at Fair ...community events," 21 June 2018 The test involved packing and unpacking the four finalists with two bed pillows and several bath towels, then loading them down with my Harbinger 20-pound weight vest and taking each on a half-mile walk around my house. Joe Jackson, Outside Online, "The Best Duffel Bags," 18 Apr. 2018 The year over year payout difference for a first tooth lost was much less drastic; kids in 2016 found an average of $5.72 under their pillow for first teeth, while kids in 2017 found an average of $5.70. William Axford, Houston Chronicle, "Poll: Tooth Fairy paid $271 million for lost teeth in 2017," 27 Feb. 2018 Train your brain to link the olfactory sensation to ZZZ's by spritzing your home pillows with the scent then traveling with a three-ounce bottle of your own. Cassie Shortsleeve, Condé Nast Traveler, "All the Gear You Need to Actually Sleep on a Plane," 20 Feb. 2018 Bring a blanket to lie on, a second blanket for warmth, a pillow or two to support head and knees, and an eye covering if so inclined. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Valentine’s Day and other events," 25 Jan. 2018 How to: Add 1-3 drops to a cotton ball and tuck it into your pillow for a natural sleep aid. Sunset, "Your Guide To Essential Oils," 22 Jan. 2018 So, to add some extra lift, take two pillows and stick them under each knee. Gigi Engle, Marie Claire, "What to Do If Cowgirl Position Isn't Working for You," 9 June 2017 Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. The Editors, The Cut, "41 Things on Sale You’ll Actually Want to Buy: From Miu Miu to Missoni," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The first 200 children 12 and under will get special heart pillows with arms. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "My first IKEA experience: What newbies can expect when the store opens in Oak Creek May 16," 9 May 2018 As part of the partnership’s #HugOneGiveOne campaign, Pillow of Health matches any purchase of their kids pillow with a donation of one pillow to a child with cancer at Lurie. Gwendolyn Purdom, RedEye Chicago, "Do good making kids with cancer more comfortable with Cal’s Angels," 24 Jan. 2018 As friends of the NFL are aware, The League, rightfully running scared from the head injury repercussions, has been doing its best to pillow the blows which lead to lawsuits, and thus, shorter pockets for billionaires. Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Soft NFL would be even softer if kickoff returns got the boot," 21 Apr. 2018 Banquette cushion fabric: Odyssey in Pumice (796-208) and pillow fabric (striped): Jake Stripe in Pebble Beach (800-40) by Perennials (perennialsfabrics.com). Southern Living, "Source Guide - February 2013," 2 Jan. 2013 Window treatment and pillow fabric: Montmartre in Clay/Blue and blue pillow fabric: Crillon Linen in Seafoam, both from the Suzanne Kasler collection by Lee Jofa (leejofa.com). Southern Living, "Source Guide - September 2013," 14 Aug. 2013 The best, easiest and most affordable way to change your space up with the season to reflect a cozier atmosphere is to rotate decor like throws and pillows on a quarterly (or bi-annual) basis. Ariel Okin, Vogue, "5 Easy Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Fall," 30 Sep. 2017 The spices are fragrant and warm, a perfect contrast to pillow-y pita and cool, garlicky tzatziki. Anna Thomas Bates, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shortcut 'gyros' leave time for picture-worthy fun," 23 Aug. 2017 A cabin without a mattress rented for one dollar; a mattress for two people cost an extra twenty-five cents, and blankets, sheets, and pillows another fifty cents. Andrew Wood, Smithsonian, "The Rise and Fall of the Great American Motel," 1 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pillow.' 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 pillow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1629, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for pillow


Middle English pilwe, from Old English pyle (akin to Old High German pfuliwi), from Latin pulvinus

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Statistics for pillow

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pillow

The first known use of pillow was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for pillow



English Language Learners Definition of pillow

: a bag filled with soft material that is used as a cushion usually for the head of a person who is lying down


pil·​low | \ˈpi-lō \

Kids Definition of pillow

: a bag filled with soft or springy material used as a cushion usually for the head of a person lying down

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