pil·​low | \ ˈpi-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce pillow (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pillowy (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pillow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rent the Runway recently added West Elm pillows and quilts. Washington Post, "Too hard to move a couch? Rental startups see a market," 13 Jan. 2020 Among the list of items prohibited in the Capitol Annex and the Capitol were umbrellas, toilet paper, pillows or blankets, banners and outside fast food, according to a January 2019 Facebook post of the list by activist Don Pratt. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "At Kentucky Capitol, you can open carry a gun ... but don't conceal those umbrellas," 8 Jan. 2020 Nearby chairs hold holiday pillows with silver beading depicting trees and owls. oregonlive, "Oregon families celebrate the holidays at home with well-loved traditions," 18 Dec. 2019 If your lips need some TLC, and waking up with a pillow-like pout sounds like a good plan to you, shop below! Dominique Hobdy, Essence, "This Must-Have Mask Brings Your Lips Back To Life While You Sleep," 16 Dec. 2019 Place a yoga block, pillow or folded blanket under bent knee for support, if needed. Lauren Bedosky, Health.com, "15 Hip Stretches Literally Every Body Will Benefit From," 13 Dec. 2019 How to steal a mattress Upscale hotels often make their mattresses or pillows available for purchase to guests who've slept soundly during their stays. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "People are stealing mattresses from luxury hotels," 12 Dec. 2019 The bed sheets, pillow and mattress had blood on them. Wayne K. Roustan, sun-sentinel.com, "Naked man repeatedly stabbed, slashed landlord’s dog, cops say," 10 Dec. 2019 Linenthal says the vessel is in the same category of American historic relics as the Declaration of Independence and Abraham Lincoln’s bloody pillow. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "What Happened to the U.S.S. Arizona After Pearl Harbor?," 6 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The set piece rips away the artifice that so often congenially pillows our notions of theatre. The New Yorker, "Women’s Worlds in “Jagged Little Pill” and “Fefu and Her Friends”," 9 Dec. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for pillow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pillow

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pillow.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pillow. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for pillow


How to pronounce pillow (audio)

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 How to pronounce pillow (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on pillow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pillow

Spanish Central: Translation of pillow

Nglish: Translation of pillow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pillow for Arabic Speakers

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