Definition of pillage in English:



[with object]
  • 1Rob a (place) using violence, especially in wartime.

    ‘the abbey was plundered and pillaged’
    • ‘The sight reminded me of a war torn city ravaged and pillaged by the plunder of war.’
    • ‘Our view of the Vikings is bloodthirsty men who raped, pillaged and plundered.’
    • ‘She said: ‘They have raped and pillaged their own shores and now they have raped and pillaged ours.’’
    • ‘What will they have left when the art of all of the cultures of the earth has been pillaged by armies, looted by wealthy collectors, destroyed by insane fundamentalists, and prohibited by tyrants?’
    • ‘There was also wide-ranging destruction in the countryside, particularly affecting the fortress towns, which were pillaged and despoiled.’
    • ‘Has there been a rash of rape, pillage and plundering by marauding bands of illegals?’
    • ‘During the first two nights of pillaging the Capital City, over half a million people were killed.’
    • ‘What if those Fascist Romans had not raped, pillaged and plundered the Ancient Britons?’
    • ‘The truth of the matter is that Europeans are not to be trusted in nature because they rape and pillage the earth, whereas your indigenous peoples regard the earth as their mother and treat her with the greatest respect.’
    • ‘Today's conflict profiteers are not the first to sponsor a campaign to ransack, rape, pillage and plunder in the Congo.’
    • ‘The West has raped and pillaged much of the rest of the world in the name of progress and living in comfort, but that can't go on indefinitely.’
    • ‘He ignored the resolution and continued to rape and pillage the country.’
    • ‘Most of the outlying towns and villages of the empire had already been pillaged and destroyed, mere husks of buildings remaining to mark where prosperous towns once were.’
    • ‘European countries raped and pillaged the continent, destroying the social fabric and leaving a metaphorical smoking hole behind.’
    • ‘For two thousand years barbarian races swept across Central Asia raping, pillaging and ravaging as they went.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, they trash every commandment of God, launch a new war every year, loot the treasury, neglect education, health and the environment and pillage the earth under a blanket of annihilatory weapons.’
    • ‘Nero did not want anyone to know that he had been born in the village they were about to rape, pillage, and plunder their grimy guts out.’
    • ‘Since then, the militia, supported by the government, have murdered and raped thousands of African villagers, and looted and pillaged villages across the region.’
    • ‘Tottenham Court Road was pillaged by a mob of sixty hardcore anarchists.’
    • ‘No matter how much you rape and pillage us and invade our land we will always be here.’
    plunder, rob, ravage, harry, maraud, ravish, rape, raid, ransack, loot, sack, rifle
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    1. 1.1 Steal (something) using violence, especially in wartime.
      ‘artworks pillaged from churches and museums’
      • ‘For years they had been pillaging the various shops that had occupied the Tea Rooms and hoped for a few more pickings.’
      • ‘Many soldiers carried small Leica or Ermanox cameras in their rucksacks or pillaged optical equipment from the towns they occupied.’
      • ‘Corruption trials for pillaging the state will probably happen.’
      • ‘I deplore the way that the US goes into countries and pillages them, stealing their assets.’
      • ‘This is ‘property as theft’ in its purest form - the biopirates are stealing from the commons, not to mention pillaging people's cultural heritage.’
      • ‘In 1661, a Dutch fleet pillaged its temples and maltreated monks, the only inhabitants.’
      • ‘Notice that they're not only pillaging resources these days, but they're investing.’
      • ‘Our people have had to submit to its wishes every year to keep it from setting fire to our lands, stealing my people, pillaging their houses as well as a list of other horrible things.’
      • ‘The lot of them are now pillaging the Professor's cellar and grumbling about the grumpy bastard who shares their lives.’
      • ‘After a quick stop at the remnants of the cathedral in Fortrose, which suffered at the hands of Cromwell, who pillaged the red sandstone to build his fort in Inverness, we find ourselves in another realm of myths.’
      • ‘Thieves in medieval Russia believed that if they carried a candle made of the fat of a murdered virgin when they pillaged churches, they wouldn't get caught.’
      • ‘The buildings were often pillaged in times of uncertainty - in some cases, totally demolished - and then rebuilt and restored over and over again.’
      • ‘One news story carried reports of American journalists pillaging the art treasures of Iraq and smuggling them home.’
      • ‘The problem is that if the pirates carry on pillaging the fish, they will put themselves, and the rest of the world's legitimate tuna boats, out of business.’
      • ‘You want people to buy your stuff instead of just pillaging it off the Net?’
      • ‘She also ran a grocery store which hardly made any profit, since it was also the family food-stock and we, the children, pillaged it mercilessly.’
      • ‘The three men that pillaged the home of John Smith of Tombrien, and subjected the elderly man to a terrifying ordeal made off with only a small amount of money.’
      • ‘We're supposed to believe that pillaging the planet is part of an inevitable progression.’
      • ‘They also reportedly joined looters who pillaged other lucrative targets like office buildings, stores, and private homes.’
      • ‘Mobutu was later accused of pillaging the mineral resources there, lining up his pockets and those of his closest colleagues.’
      ransack, steal from, plunder, rob, raid, loot, rifle, sack
      steal, pilfer, thieve, rob, take, snatch, purloin, loot, rifle, abscond with, carry off
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mass noun
  • The action of pillaging a place or property, especially in war.

    ‘rebellious peasants intent on pillage’
    • ‘With her own eyes Flavia had watched the savages work, their blond hair caked with dust and beer, their pink faces contorted with the joy of pillage.’
    • ‘If all episodes of pillage were as easy to explain, the UN might not today be facing what is shaping up as the biggest scandal in its chequered history.’
    • ‘It was a system built on blood and arms, on clever balancing of different interest groups, on international anti-communist support of the Cold War and on the organized pillage of the state.’
    • ‘And He came into the stock exchange, where He found them intent on the rape and pillage of the peoples of the world, and he caused all trading to stop.’
    • ‘His tenure at the Ministry of the Navy was a complete failure and he presided over the cultural pillage of Italy and Egypt.’
    • ‘The death toll through famine in Ukraine and Kazakhstan was certainly lower than in the famines that resulted from the British pillage of Ireland and India.’
    • ‘The commission held him accountable for the rampage of pillage, murder, and destruction conducted by his forces in the Philippines before his capture.’
    • ‘Well prior to the outbreak of the current war, they warned the Pentagon of the dangers to Iraq's cultural heritage posed by postwar pillage and destruction.’
    • ‘She believed in the messages of her soul's voices; they told her of the great horrors of her world, and about the ways of the hero who could forestall the terrors of war, pillage and rapine.’
    • ‘The hundreds of millions of dollars being reaped from this pillage, officials say, are going to some of Indonesia's top serving or retired military officers.’
    • ‘The surprise offensive triggered a predictable spree of pillage and rape in the lakeside city, and sparked a crisis in the fragile peace process across the country.’
    • ‘This area was patrolled by German mercenaries who went on a rampage of pillage and terrorising the local population.’
    • ‘Leaving ‘the whole subject’ to local commanders nevertheless permitted considerable latitude for pillage or destruction and was in itself an important principle.’
    • ‘During the 1846 U.S. invasion of Mexico, newspapers reported pillage, rape, and murder of civilians by Gen. Zachary Taylor's soldiers.’
    • ‘He rebuilt ruined churches, built others, he sent overseas to replace lost books and artifacts and all that he possibly could to heal the wounds of the past two centuries of Norse pillage.’
    • ‘That course was not open because several ministers in Modi's cabinet were participating in the violence and/or monitoring the organised crowds to guarantee effective pillage and slaughter.’
    • ‘During their forty-day pillage of Baghdad, the Mongols destroyed arguably the most advanced collection of human knowledge of all times.’
    • ‘However, despite my outing of this pillage in June, I have yet to hear from any of the grave robber's fellow club-members that he has repented and replaced the stolen item.’
    • ‘The death penalty was prescribed for anyone caught in the act of pillage during a raid.’
    • ‘In a series of attacks starting in 1748 until 1761, Abdali would not only pillage and loot Delhi, he also cleaned out Mathura, Kashmir and cities in Panjab.’
    robbery, robbing, raiding, pillaging, plunder, plundering, looting, sacking, sack, ransacking, ravaging, laying waste, devastation, depredation, rape, harrying, marauding
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Late Middle English (as a noun): from Old French, from piller ‘to plunder’.