Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To loot or plunder by force, especially in time of war.
  • n. The spoils of war.
  • n. The act of pillaging.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of plundering.
  • n. Plunder; spoil; that which is taken from another by open force, particularly and chiefly from enemies in war.
  • n. 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.
  • To strip of money or goods by open violence; plunder; despoil.

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

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

Etymologies

From Middle English, booty, from Old French, from piller, to plunder, from peille, rag (probably from Latin pilleus, pīleus, felt cap) or from Vulgar Latin *pīliāre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)

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 Seattle Times

  • [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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  • Originally Posted by keerthi_koch pillage - goods obtained illegally synonyms: ransack, booty, despoil etymology: it is derived from the french word pillage meaning plunder next word: nihilist nihilist ----

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  • Re: A Word Game!!! pillage - goods obtained illegally synonyms: ransack, booty, despoil etymology: it is derived from the french word pillage meaning plunder next word: nihilistRe: A Word Game!!!

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  • Ivory Coast officials have been engaged in a rising diplomatic grievance with Chinese fishermen, with the government comparing methods to "pillage" and unions arguing that 4,000 local jobs are potentially at risk.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

Comments

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  • Accounting for the number of pills one has.

    October 11, 2008

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

    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

  • 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

  • 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

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

    July 17, 2007

  • As in "rape and". Heh.

    July 17, 2007