Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A slender, freestanding, vertical support; a column.
  • n. Such a structure or one similar to it used for decoration.
  • n. One who occupies a central or responsible position: a pillar of the state.
  • transitive v. To support or decorate with pillars or a pillar.
  • idiom from pillar to post From one place to another; hither and thither.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large post, often used as supporting architecture.
  • n. Something resembling such a structure.
  • n. An essential part of something that provides support.
  • v. To provide with pillars or added strength as if from pillars.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a support in the form of a pillar, instead of legs.
  • n. The general and popular term for a firm, upright, insulated support for a superstructure; a pier, column, or post; also, a column or shaft not supporting a superstructure, as one erected for a monument or an ornament.
  • n. Figuratively, that which resembles such a pillar in appearance, character, or office; a supporter or mainstay
  • n. A portable ornamental column, formerly carried before a cardinal, as emblematic of his support to the church.
  • n. The center of the volta, ring, or manege ground, around which a horse turns.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A column; a columnar mass of any form, often composed, or having the appearance of being composed, of several shafts engaged in a central core, as is frequent in medieval architecture: by architects often distinguished from column, inasmuch as it may be of any shape in section, and is not subordinated to the rules of classic architecture. See also cuts under latand column.
  • n. A support or supporter; one who or that which sustains or upholds.
  • n. The upright and supporting part of something, as of a table having but one support, or of a candlestick.
  • n. In anatomy and zoology, a pillar-like or columnar structure, part, or organ; a column or columella; a crus: as, the pillar (columella or modiolus) of a spiral shell; the pillars (crura or peduncles) of the brain. See cut under Discophora.
  • n. One of the posts which serve to connect the plates of a clock-movement, and also to keep them the necessary distance apart.
  • n. In the manège, the raised center of the ring or manège-ground around which a horse turns. There are also pillars at regular intervals around the ground.
  • n. A portable emblem in the form of an ornamented column, formerly carried before an ecclesiastical dignitary as typical of his function as a support to the church.
  • n. Something resembling a pillar in appearance.
  • n. A solid mass of coal left either temporarily or permanently to support the roof of a mine.
  • n. In harp-making, the upright post on the side furthest from the player. It is usually hollow, and contains the rods of the pedal-action.
  • n. A frame for supporting tobacco-pipes in a kiln.
  • n. The nipple of a firearm.
  • n. In ship-building, a column which supports a deck-beam in the interior of a vessel.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a vertical cylindrical structure standing alone and not supporting anything (such as a monument)
  • n. (architecture) a tall vertical cylindrical structure standing upright and used to support a structure
  • n. anything that approximates the shape of a column or tower
  • n. a prominent supporter
  • n. a fundamental principle or practice

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French pilier, from Medieval Latin pīlāre, from Latin pīla.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French pilier , from Medieval Latin pilare ("a pillar"), from Latin pila ("a pillar, pier, mole"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Irish authorities has identified that only two main lenders—which it calls "pillar banks"—will emerge from Ireland's banking wreckage.

    Irish Life Admits Defeat

  • Moreover, he charged a great angel to guard me, and this pillar is my prison until Judgment-day.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place.

    Probably Just One Of Those Funny Coincidences

  • Now Ab'salom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Ab'salom's place.

    2 Samuel 18.

  • Ammood is translated pillar also, and corresponds to the English word pillar much better.

    The Lost Ten Tribes, and 1882

  • Half way up the shaft of the pillar is another square block, bearing vertical dials, and at the angle of the north face there is a shield with the Drummond arms, an earl's coronet, and the initials E.

    The Book of Sun-Dials

  • 'Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale; for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance; and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's Place.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and First Book of Samuel, Second Samuel, First Kings, and Second Kings chapters I to VII

  • It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The “Racist” Charge

  • The side altar of the right choir pillar is the altar of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (the famous Shrine of the Fourteen Holy Helpers - Vierzehnheiligen - is on the opposite Banz on the other side of the Main valley, can actually be seen from Banz and will be the subject of a subsequent instalment of this series) flanked by statues of Saints Dorothee and Margaret.

    Catholic Bamberg: Banz Abbey

  • While driving to work, I saw a nice sun pillar from the sunrise.

    Sun Pillar

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  • "One of the posts which serve to connect the plates of a clock-movement, and also to keep them the necessary distance apart.

    In the manège, the raised center of the ring or manège-ground around which a horse turns. There are also pillars at regular intervals around the ground."

    --Cent. Dict.

    September 14, 2012

  • It is a pillar of our economy that has held up the dreams of millions of our people.

    March 30, 2009