Definition of pillar in US English:

pillar

noun

  • 1A tall vertical structure of stone, wood, or metal, used as a support for a building, or as an ornament or monument.

    • ‘Confining roses to pillars or other vertical structures may be a better option.’
    • ‘They are modern and stylish additions to an older building that has grand pillars and a sweeping stone staircase at its entrance.’
    • ‘In the center of the room stood a stone pillar about four feet tall.’
    • ‘The pillars supporting the building were of smooth white wood, the pews solid oak.’
    • ‘The hallway was lined with tall stone pillars and ivy.’
    • ‘The Cells were in groups of five and each of those groups stood vertically around a metal pillar.’
    • ‘There were a number of tall metal pillars and beams spread out to hold up the massive weight of the city above them.’
    • ‘All pillars are essential to a firm and sturdy building.’
    • ‘The lower storey disappeared in 1889 when the building was modified and the distinctive stone pillars supporting the upper storey were added.’
    • ‘Every bungalow is supported on stone pillars, which permits us to maintain the natural terrain and vegetation.’
    • ‘They carve memorial pillars in wood and stone for their dead.’
    • ‘At the other end of the cone shaped island was a two mile long causeway with tall stone pillars as markers connected to the mainland near Strandhill.’
    • ‘The former asylum opened in 1816 is a stately quadrangular building of stone with pillars of the Doric order.’
    • ‘Ornate pillars with stone carved towers stand as monuments of glory to their builders.’
    • ‘A metal fence post was found nearby and it has been used to chip chunks of stone from the other pillars and the monument itself.’
    • ‘Well maintained buildings, gates, pillars, old stone walls and styles add to the visual appearance of the farm and help it blend into the landscape.’
    • ‘Most of the rooms were large and empty, like a monument, supported by tall, white pillars.’
    • ‘Substantive stone pillars absorb that heat, radiating it out throughout the night.’
    • ‘They had reached the wall surrounding the offices where the King's business in the city was conducted, and stood outside impressive iron gates with tall ornamental pillars on either side.’
    • ‘The tall pillar of stones on the summit is a well-known landmark and there are great views of the valleys and tarns below.’
    column, post, pole, support, upright, vertical, baluster, pier, pile, piling, pilaster, stanchion, standard, prop, buttress
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    1. 1.1 Something shaped like a pillar.
      ‘a pillar of smoke’
      • ‘There was a spiritual cloud that directed them during the day, and a pillar of fire that replaced it at night.’
      • ‘Out of nowhere a pillar of bright red fire forms from Collis feat.’
      • ‘His first miracle involves covering Manchester City's Maine Rd stadium with a pillar of light.’
      • ‘Nubon slammed Seth down again, and a pillar of rock shot up as high as Nubon was tall.’
      • ‘I turned my head towards aisle three to stare down Vader, but I was afraid of being turned into a pillar of salt so I averted my eyes.’
      • ‘A siren pierces the early evening night calling attention to the bright yellow firetruck speeding toward a pillar of smoke in the distance.’
      • ‘My worst moment came when I found myself fighting a losing battle against a pillar of fire which had suddenly turned back on itself and was heading in my direction.’
      • ‘Two figures stood in a treacherously dangerous position at the edge of a hole from which a pillar of light emanated.’
      • ‘The memory cell includes an access transistor formed in a pillar of single crystal semiconductor material.’
      • ‘Suddenly, when his opponent was close to the wall he sent a pillar of rock shooting towards Michael's head.’
      • ‘Elisa, Dhaiiski, and Cassida appeared downtown area at the center of a pillar of yellow circles.’
      • ‘As she exerted more force on it, she saw a human form materialize, first as a pillar of swirling water, then into a humanoid form.’
      • ‘Mayo and I opted to climb Glass Menagerie, a pillar of solid ice that spills down in frosted swirls like icing on a cake.’
      • ‘Untidy pipes can be painted in the same colour as the wall, whereas a corner downpipe reaching the eaves could be planted with Golden Hop and become a pillar of chartreuse from April to November.’
      • ‘When he completed his turn, he was met by a pillar of compact soil and rock that shot at him out of nowhere, sending him rolling through the dirt.’
    2. 1.2 A person or thing regarded as reliably providing essential support for something.
      ‘he was a pillar of his local community’
      • ‘Dad thought himself a pinnacle of strength and a pillar of optimism to guide everyone through the dark times.’
      • ‘Consequently, a reliable pillar of our public safety infrastructure is gradually being undermined.’
      • ‘He is the ultimate example of drug-fuelled rock 'n' roll excess, the other is a douce, dapper pillar of Scotland's literary establishment.’
      • ‘She learned Arabic and became a pillar of support in local communities, often helping the needy in the face of opposition during the dictator's regime.’
      • ‘At first she thought he would be a hindrance, but it turned out that he had been a pillar of support.’
      • ‘During a routine sale of U.S. Treasury bonds in early September, one of the essential pillars holding up the economy suddenly disappeared.’
      • ‘It's known all along that property ownership is an essential pillar of self-funded retirement.’
      • ‘I've often heard people wondering how these students, notoriously wild, turn into pillars of responsibility and reliability.’
      • ‘A strong modern military was considered an essential pillar supporting the nation.’
      • ‘He had always seemed to her like a pillar of quiet strength.’
      • ‘They see the static regional context as having become a pillar of support for the occupation in this unjust war.’
      • ‘Since the '60s Lee has been a pillar of Canadian literature as an editor, essayist and poet.’
      • ‘The US considers it essential to maintain Morocco as a pillar of support in the Arab world.’
      • ‘After the move from the company, he was a pillar of support following the death of Wyclef's father two years ago, and a strong influence on the vocal aspect of his music.’
      • ‘They're quite willing to mess around with essential pillars of freedom without understanding what they're doing.’
      • ‘There is no doubt manners and social graces are essential pillars to hold up our society.’
      • ‘All those detained in the sweep were members of a family described as a pillar of support for the ousted regime, said the US Lieutenant Colonel.’
      • ‘The Sikh Coalition would like to thank the Hate Free Zone for helping to protect the pillars of our democracy by exercising the voice of the people.’
      • ‘I am a small but essential pillar of society; I'm not a doctor or a soldier, I don't teach or sweep streets, but I do have a little role to play.’
      • ‘Mary Nicholas, his mother, a seamstress by profession, has always been a pillar of support encouraging his musical efforts.’
      stalwart, mainstay, strength, tower of strength, bastion, rock
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Phrases

  • from pillar to post

    • From one place to another in an unceremonious or fruitless manner.

      ‘the refugees have been pushed from pillar to post in that area’
      • ‘We have been bounced from pillar to post over the past few weeks and this has caused a lot of distress for my family.’
      • ‘Patients with mental health problems will no longer be pushed from pillar to post once a new resource centre has opened at Queensway House in Southend.’
      • ‘‘I've been passed from pillar to post, and still nothing has been done to sort it,’ said Bernie, 56, a member of the Thornbury Newlands community group.’
      • ‘She said the community was being pushed from pillar to post and the phone companies refused to meet with them.’
      • ‘Gypsies are pushed from pillar to post and suffer prejudice and misunderstanding.’
      • ‘I have made complaints to the council and to local councillors but I seem to be getting passed from pillar to post.’
      • ‘‘I feel very guilty even now about how David got pushed from pillar to post,’ said Linda.’
      • ‘Mrs Swaffield said: ‘It is so wrong that this old lady is being pushed around from pillar to post.’’
      • ‘The youths need somewhere to go because at the moment they are moved from pillar to post.’
      • ‘We know how frustrating it can be for business people to be passed from pillar to post when seeking information or support.’
      from place to place, around, about, to and fro, hither and thither, back and forth, in all directions, from pillar to post
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French piler, based on Latin pila ‘pillar’.

Pronunciation

pillar

/ˈpɪlər//ˈpilər/