A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pil-er] /ˈpɪl ər/
an upright shaft or structure, of stone, brick, or other material, relatively slender in proportion to its height, and of any shape in section, used as a building support, or standing alone, as for a monument:
Gothic pillars; a pillar to commemorate Columbus.
a natural formation resembling such a construction:
a pillar of rock; a pillar of smoke.
any upright, supporting part; post:
the pillar of a table.
a person who is a chief supporter of a society, state, institution, etc.:
a pillar of the community.
Horology. any of several short parts for spacing and keeping in the proper relative positions two plates holding the bearings of a watch or clock movement.
Mining. an isolated mass of rock or ore in a mine, usually serving as a roof support in early operations and later removed, wholly or in part.
Nautical, mast1 (def 2).
verb (used with object)
to provide or support with pillars.
from pillar to post,
  1. aimlessly from place to place.
  2. uneasily from one bad situation or predicament to another.
1175-1225; Middle English pillare < Medieval Latin pīlāre (see pile1, -ar2); replacing earlier piler < Old French < Medieval Latin, as above
Related forms
pillared, adjective
pillarlike, adjective
unpillared, adjective
Can be confused
pillar, pillory, pillow.
1. pilaster, pier. See column. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for pillars
  • The faculty and staff make up two pillars on the same level.
  • The studio hopes the results can be used in the construction of pillars, walls, and furniture.
  • Microscopic pillars on the surface drive water away, taking dirt with it.
  • Coster-Mullen gingerly navigated the pillars inside an indoor parking garage and pulled up to the loading dock.
  • But everywhere you see the water's work: canyon mazes, unbroken scarps, sandstone pillars.
  • Many were crushed when apartment buildings that had little or no steel in the concrete pillars simply pancaked.
  • The pillars on which the state's security is grounded are wobbling.
  • The eligibility criteria for presidential candidates are strict, ensuring that only pillars of the establishment need apply.
  • Universities are not the pillars of academic exploration they once were.
  • But alongside these twin pillars of food news stand a host of other developments and trends.
British Dictionary definitions for pillars


an upright structure of stone, brick, metal, etc, that supports a superstructure or is used for ornamentation
something resembling this in shape or function: a pillar of stones, a pillar of smoke
a tall, slender, usually sheer rock column, forming a separate top
a prominent supporter: a pillar of the Church
from pillar to post, from one place to another
(transitive) to support with or as if with pillars
Word Origin
C13: from Old French pilier, from Latin pīla; see pile1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pillars



c.1200, from Old French piler "pillar, column, pier" (12c., Modern French pilier) and directly from Medieval Latin pilare, from Latin pila "pillar, stone barrier." Figurative sense of "prop or support of an institution or community" is first recorded early 14c. Phrase pillar to post is c.1600, originally of tennis, exact meaning obscure.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
pillars in Medicine

pillar pil·lar (pĭl'ər)
A structure or part that provides support and resembles a column or pillar.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
pillars in the Bible

used to support a building (Judg. 16:26, 29); as a trophy or memorial (Gen. 28:18; 35:20; Ex. 24:4; 1 Sam. 15:12, A.V., "place," more correctly "monument," or "trophy of victory," as in 2 Sam. 18:18); of fire, by which the Divine Presence was manifested (Ex. 13:2). The "plain of the pillar" in Judg. 9:6 ought to be, as in the Revised Version, the "oak of the pillar", i.e., of the monument or stone set up by Joshua (24:26).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for pillar

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pillars

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with pillars

Nearby words for pillars