Definition of pillory
- IPA: /pɪlə(ɹ)i/ SAMPA: /pIl@(r)i:/ (UK)
pillory (plural pillories)
- A framework on a post, with holes for the hands and head, used as a means of punishment and humiliation.
pillory (third-person singular simple present pillories, present participle pillorying, simple past and past participle pilloried)
- (transitive) To put in a pillory.
- (transitive) To subject to humiliation, scorn, ridicule or abuse.
- (transitive) To criticize harshly.
The pillory was a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment by public humiliation and often further physical abuse, sometimes lethal. The pillory is related to the stocks.
The word is documented in English since 1274 (attested in Anglo-Latin from c. 1189), and stems from Old French pellori (1168; modern French pilori), itself from medieval Latin pilloria, of uncertain origin, perhaps a diminutive of Latin pila "pillar, stone barrier."
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