Definitions

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

  • n. A pad or cushion for an extra rider behind the saddle on a horse or motorcycle.
  • n. A bicycle or motorcycle saddle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pad behind the saddle of a horse for a second rider.
  • n. A similar second saddle on a motorcycle for a passenger.
  • n. The person riding in the pillion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A panel or cushion saddle; the under pad or cushion of saddle; esp., a pad or cushion put on behind a man's saddle, on which a woman may ride.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A saddle, especially a light and simple saddle without a raised bow and pommel.
  • n. A pad or cushion fitted for adjustment to a saddle behind as a seat for a second person, usually a woman.
  • n. In mining, tin recovered from the slags in the smelting of that metal. This is done by repeated stamping, sifting, and washing.
  • n. A head-dress, as of a priest; a hat.

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

  • n. a seat behind the rider of a horse or motorbike etc.

Etymologies

Probably from Scottish Gaelic pillean, diminutive of peall, rug, or Irish Gaelic pillín, diminutive of pell, rug, both from Old Irish pell, from Latin pellis, animal skin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Scottish Gaelic pillean ("little rug"), from Latin pellis ("animal skin, pelt"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A pillion was the grandest equipage, and a plain blue and white gown, with primly starched apron, was the common attire of the New England dames.

    A Brief History of the United States

  • A pillion is a sort of a very low-backed arm-chair, and was fastened on the horse's croup, behind the saddle, on which a man rode who had all the care of managing the horse, while the lady sat at her ease, supporting herself by grasping a belt which he wore, or passing her arm around his body, if the _gentleman was not too ticklish_.

    The Arabian Art of Taming and Training Wild and Vicious Horses

  • A pillion was a cushion strapped on behind a man's saddle, and from it sometimes hung a small platform or double stirrup on which a woman rider could rest her feet.

    Customs and Fashions in Old New England

  • A pillion was a padded cushion with straps which sometimes had on one side a sort of platform-stirrup.

    Home Life in Colonial Days

  • I can hear my old '65 BSA, too, and my' 71 BMW boxer twin, which took me west to the Rockies and east to the Atlantic and south to Florida with Karen riding pillion.

    I Love Her, but She May Be Too Expensive

  • Thinking they wanted directions, I was about to roll down the window when I noticed the handgun the pillion rider was pointing at me.

    'Can I ever return home?'

  • As I rode pillion with the boy I loved, I sang it into the wind just for the joy of it.

    Family life

  • I remember making weird faces just to cheer you up and assuring you that you will be my only female pillion rider ever.

    Rain

  • You got onto the pillion seat behind me, your hands wrapped around my waist tightly.

    Rain

  • "Just to make sure I will be the only female pillion rider you will ever have," you teased.

    Rain

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Comments

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  • Yeah. Much nicer.

    Sheesh.

    June 12, 2008

  • a much nicer way to say "bitch seat"

    June 12, 2008

  • Sit her horse like a man. Weightcarrying huntress. No sidesaddle or pillion for her, not for Joe.
    Joyce, Ulysses, 8

    January 3, 2007