Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To rob of goods by force, especially in time of war; plunder.
  • intransitive verb To take as spoils.
  • intransitive verb To take spoils by force.
  • noun The act of pillaging.
  • noun Something pillaged; spoils.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To strip of money or goods by open violence; plunder; despoil.
  • noun The act of plundering.
  • noun Plunder; spoil; that which is taken from another by open force, particularly and chiefly from enemies in war.
  • noun Synonyms Pillage, Plunder, Booty, Spoil, Prey. These words denote that which is violently got or carried off; all except prey suggest a considerable amount seized. Pillage also denotes the act; the others only the thing or things taken. Pillage and spoil especially suggest the great loss to the owners, completely stripping or despoiling them of their property; plunder suggests the quantity and value of that which is taken: as, loaded with plunder; booty is primarily the spoils of war, but also of a raid or combined action, as of pirates, brigands, or burglars; spoil is the only one of these words that is used in the plural, except, rarely, prey. Prey now seems figurative or archaic when not applied to the objects of pursuit by animals: as, the mouse falls a ready prey to both beasts and birds; hence, when applied to that which is pursued or taken by man, it expresses condemnation of the act.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of pillaging; robbery.
  • noun That which is taken from another or others by open force, particularly and chiefly from enemies in war; plunder; spoil; booty.
  • intransitive verb To strip of money or goods by open violence; to plunder; to spoil; to lay waste.
  • intransitive verb To take spoil; to plunder; to ravage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, intransitive To loot or plunder by force, especially in time of war.
  • noun The spoils of war.
  • noun The act of pillaging.

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

  • noun goods or money obtained illegally
  • noun the act of stealing valuable things from a place
  • verb steal goods; take as spoils

Etymologies

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

[From Middle English, booty, from Old French, from piller, to take (by ruse), plunder, manhandle, from Vulgar Latin *pīliāre, probably from Latin pilleus, pīleus, felt cap (worn especially by freedmen); perhaps akin to Greek pilos, felt.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French pillage, from piller ("plunder"), from an unattested meaning of Late Latin piliō, probably a figurative use of Latin pilō, from pilus ("hair").

Examples

  • Prepare to lower the foc'sle and main pillage and plunder and put big hickeys on all the fair damsels!

    Arrrr Ye Slimey Bilge Rats, 'Tis Talk Like A Pirate Day!

  • Not the slightest trace is left of these nations which, born in pillage, died in blood.

    Élie Ducommun - Nobel Lecture

  • They knew that they were breaking the law by carrying on a game of what is called pillage or brigandage at sea; but then they thought the law was all wrong, and that it was unlawful to enforce such restrictions, or put any penalty on freedom of action.

    The Shellback's Progress In the Nineteenth Century

  • The pillage was the first in the museum's 70-year history.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • The pillage was the first in the museum's 70-year history.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • The pillage was the first in the museum's 70-year history.

    The Seattle Times

  • The pillage was the first in the museum's 70-year history.

    SFGate: Don Asmussen: Bad Reporter

  • [113] The commander of the faithful rejected with firmness the idea of pillage, and directed his lieutenant to reserve the wealth and revenue of Alexandria for the public service and the propagation of the faith: the inhabitants were numbered; a tribute was imposed, the zeal and resentment of the Jacobites were curbed, and the Melchites who submitted to the Arabian yoke were indulged in the obscure but tranquil exercise of their worship.

    History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 5

  • The commander of the faithful rejected with firmness the idea of pillage, and directed his lieutenant to reserve the wealth and revenue of Alexandria for the public service and the propagation of the faith: the inhabitants were numbered; a tribute was imposed, the zeal and resentment of the Jacobites were curbed, and the Melchites who submitted to the Arabian yoke were indulged in the obscure but tranquil exercise of their worship.

    History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 5

  • "According to international law, this kind of activity is a violation of occupation laws as well as of human rights laws and, in certain cases, might be defined as pillage," says the petition.

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Comments

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  • As in "rape and". Heh.

    July 17, 2007

  • Surely it's possible to pillage without raping? Though I've never heard of that actually happening...

    July 17, 2007

  • Wasn't the original meaning of "rape" more like a seizing or carrying off of property? So it's interesting to consider how it arrived at its present generally accepted meaning....

    July 17, 2007

  • That is truly interesting. It comes full circle--rape has the connotation of treating a person as property. It is not just sex, it is treating a person as a non-person.

    July 17, 2007

  • Wow, good point slumry!

    I was thinking of popular culture depictions of, say, the Vikings, or the Huns, as "raping and pillaging" all the time. There was some movie or TV show where they mocked that convention and accidentally said, "We will burn their houses, kill their women and have sex with their animals" or something like that. Totally memfaulting on the detail.

    Damn, now that's going to drive me crazy!

    July 17, 2007

  • I think I know the movie you mean, but I am also memfaulting.

    July 17, 2007

  • Accounting for the number of pills one has.

    October 11, 2008