late 14c., "act of plundering" (especially in war), from O.Fr. pillage (n.) "plunder," from piller "to plunder," possibly from V.L. *piliare "to plunder," probably from a fig. use of L. pilare "to strip of hair," perhaps also meaning "to skin" (cf. figurative extension of verbs pluck, fleece). The verb is first recorded 1590s. Related: Pillaged; pillaging.