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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.
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 pillaging
  • Promiscuous pillaging, however, was discouraged and punished.
  • pillaging the nation's cultural patrimony for private gain should obviously be discouraged.
  • The existence of a market for antiquities has resulted in the systematic pillaging of archeological deposits.
  • Then they smashed a camera they feared would expose their pillaging.
  • At one time, much of the populace was engaged in piracy, pillaging the ships that sailed off the nearby coastline.
  • Always use food lockers to prevent bears and other wildlife from pillaging your food supply.
  • When the pillaging was complete the bears moved up the slope.
  • In addition, he also wrote about the destruction and pillaging of civilian property that occurred.
  • It must accomplish this without pillaging communities and the environment, but it must still accomplish this basic end.
  • Strikers are pillaging stores and fighting with the troops.
British Dictionary definitions for pillaging


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 pillaging



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 pillaging



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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