pillage 1 of 2

as in plunder
valuables stolen or taken by force the pirate ship was laden with the pillage of merchant ships from across the Spanish Main

Synonyms & Similar Words



2 of 2


as in to plunder
to search through with the intent of committing robbery soldiers pillaging the countryside for anything of value

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb pillage contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of pillage are despoil, devastate, ravage, sack, and waste. While all these words mean "to lay waste by plundering or destroying," pillage implies ruthless plundering at will but without the completeness suggested by sack.

settlements pillaged by Vikings

Where would despoil be a reasonable alternative to pillage?

In some situations, the words despoil and pillage are roughly equivalent. However, despoil applies to looting or robbing without suggesting accompanying destruction.

the Nazis despoiled the art museums

When is it sensible to use devastate instead of pillage?

The synonyms devastate and pillage are sometimes interchangeable, but devastate implies the complete ruin and desolation of a wide area.

an earthquake devastated the city

When might ravage be a better fit than pillage?

While the synonyms ravage and pillage are close in meaning, ravage implies violent often cumulative depredation and destruction.

a hurricane ravaged the coast

When would sack be a good substitute for pillage?

The words sack and pillage can be used in similar contexts, but sack implies carrying off all valuable possessions from a place.

barbarians sacked ancient Rome

When could waste be used to replace pillage?

The words waste and pillage are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, waste may imply producing the same result by a slow process rather than sudden and violent action.

years of drought had wasted the area

Thesaurus Entries Near pillage

Cite this Entry

“Pillage.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pillage. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on pillage

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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