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[pil-ij] /ˈpɪl ɪdʒ/
verb (used with object), pillaged, pillaging.
to strip ruthlessly of money or goods by open violence, as in war; plunder:
The barbarians pillaged every conquered city.
to take as booty.
verb (used without object), pillaged, pillaging.
to rob with open violence; take booty:
Soldiers roamed the countryside, pillaging and killing.
the act of plundering, especially in war.
booty or spoil.
Origin of pillage
1350-1400; Middle English pilage (see pill3, -age), modeled on Middle French pillage (derivative of piller to pillage, orig., to abuse, mistreat, tear, of uncertain origin)
Related forms
pillager, noun
unpillaged, adjective
1. rob, sack, spoil, despoil, rape. 4. rapine, depredation, spoliation. 5. plunder. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pillage
  • Looking for those they could pillage.
  • But few agree on how to stop this pillage of their networks.
  • Ludlow was the first man to die in the six days of violence, pillage and arson.
  • Someone else hung up a piece of cloth on his barge and sailed away to trade and pillage in distant lands.
  • If you never teach the course, you can possibly pillage the syllabus later for something else.
  • He that showeth his wealth to a thief is the cause of his own pillage.
  • Neither group has shown much discipline: fugitives from the areas they control tell of rape and pillage.
  • Perhaps such pillage is part of the natural momentum of a city being torn apart.
  • Self-professed scholars eagerly joined in the pillage.
British Dictionary definitions for pillage


to rob (a town, village, etc) of (booty or spoils), esp during a war
the act of pillaging
something obtained by pillaging; booty
Derived Forms
pillager, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from piller to despoil, probably from peille rag, from Latin pīleus felt cap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pillage

late 14c., "act of plundering" (especially in war), from Old French pilage (14c.) "plunder," from pillier "to plunder, loot, ill-treat," possibly from Vulgar Latin *piliare "to plunder," probably from a figurative use of Latin pilare "to strip of hair," perhaps also meaning "to skin" (cf. figurative extension of verbs pluck, fleece), from pilus "a hair" (see pile (n.3)).


"plunder, despoil," 1590s, from pillage (n.). Related: Pillaged; pillaging. The earlier verb in English was simply pill (late Old English), which probably is from Latin pilare.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pillage



To eat voraciously or steal food: pillaged the office fridge when no one was looking

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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