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

  • n. A wooden framework on a post, with holes for the head and hands, in which offenders were formerly locked to be exposed to public scorn as punishment.
  • transitive v. To expose to ridicule and abuse.
  • transitive v. To put in a pillory as punishment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A framework on a post, with holes for the hands and head, used as a means of punishment and humiliation.
  • v. To put in a pillory.
  • v. To subject to humiliation, scorn, ridicule or abuse.
  • v. To criticize harshly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A frame of adjustable boards erected on a post, and having holes through which the head and hands of an offender were thrust so as to be exposed in front of it.
  • transitive v. To set in, or punish with, the pillory.
  • transitive v. Figuratively, to expose to public scorn.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To punish by exposure in the pillory.
  • Hence Figuratively, to expose to ridicule, contempt, abuse, and the like.
  • n. A frame of wood erected on a post or pole, with movable boards resembling those in the stocks, and holes through which were put the head and hands of an offender, who was thus exposed to public derision.

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

  • n. a wooden instrument of punishment on a post with holes for the wrists and neck; offenders were locked in and so exposed to public scorn
  • v. punish by putting in a pillory
  • v. expose to ridicule or public scorn
  • v. criticize harshly or violently


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

Middle English, from Old French pilori, probably from Latin pīla, pillar.



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  • Dr. Summers was pilloried for even suggesting the idea, and the critics took up his challenge to refute the hypothesis.

    June 9, 2010

  • Let's legalize the use of the pillory then start to sell rotten tomatoes. It's a sure fire money maker.

    December 3, 2008

  • Stocks? Just sayin'... :-)

    August 28, 2007

  • Wow! I'm curious, what did you think those things you see in movies are know, where people were locked up with their head and hands exposed to the public (and which were used by same for target practice!)? Or had you never seen such a movie scene?

    August 28, 2007

  • I had never heard this word until today, 28 Aug 2007, in a headline about the Greek gov't. being pilloried due to the rampant fires raging across the region in Greece.

    August 28, 2007