Definition of pillion in US English:



  • 1A seat for a passenger behind a motorcyclist.

    • ‘He said he looked out his window and saw the pillion passenger throw something at the internet shop before speeding off.’
    • ‘It was reported that one rider and his pillion passenger had kicked Surasak's motorcycle at high speed causing him to lose control.’
    • ‘In a separate incident a female pillion passenger suffered serious leg injuries when a motorcycle went out of control on the B1222 road near Sherburn-in-Elmet and ended up in a field.’
    • ‘Motorcyclists and pillion passengers must wear helmets at all times and motorists must wear safety belts.’
    • ‘Positioned near the intersection of Central Road and Third Road they witnessed a vast number of motorcyclists and their pillion passengers riding without helmets.’
    • ‘A motorcycle pillion passenger was killed and its rider seriously injured when their machine was involved in an accident on the A64.’
    • ‘The minister expressed concern that 40% of road fatalities this year were pedestrians, motorcyclists, pillion passengers and pedal cyclists.’
    • ‘North Yorkshire Police chiefs have been spurred by the tragic total of 28 motorcyclists and pillion passengers killed in accidents across the county last year, the highest number of deaths ever recorded.’
    • ‘The 18-year-old plaintiff was severely injured when the motorcycle on which he was a pillion passenger collided with another vehicle.’
    • ‘The accident last night was one of four serious collisions in North Yorkshire over the Bank Holiday weekend, which left three motorcyclists dead and a pillion passenger seriously injured.’
    • ‘One accident involved a motorcyclist, a father of six children and his pillion passenger, a father of two.’
    • ‘A motorcyclist was killed and his woman pillion passenger seriously injured when their machine smashed head-on into a lamp post.’
    • ‘The pillion passenger pulled out a gun and demanded money before firing the pistol next to the man's ear, then sped off.’
    • ‘His pillion passenger was arrested but he ran off, the bench heard.’
    • ‘The killer then sped off on the pillion seat of a motorbike and, with his accomplice, drove to a quiet neighbourhood and burned the bike in an obviously pre-identified secluded location.’
    • ‘Police are appealing for witnesses after a pillion passenger suffered serious shoulder injuries when a motorcycle lurched into a field near Scarborough.’
    • ‘The men were questioned about an alleged incident in which a motorcycle pillion passenger fired shots into a garden at The Oval in Firth Park.’
    • ‘What also comes out of the analysis is the fact that the impact that kills these motorcyclists and pillion passengers is the unprotected skull bouncing down the bitumen.’
    • ‘The campaign, which follows the recent tragic death of an eight-year-old pillion passenger, is demanding new legislation that would introduce a minimum age for motorcycle passengers.’
    • ‘The pillion passenger was thrown from the bike.’
    1. 1.1historical A woman's light saddle.
    2. 1.2historical A cushion attached to the back of a saddle for an additional passenger.
      pillow, bolster, headrest
      View synonyms


  • ride pillion

    • Travel seated behind a motorcyclist.

      • ‘She indicated Bradson would ride pillion behind one rider, she behind the other.’
      • ‘They had returned home with A-Nong riding pillion on Monchai's motorcycle with Mukda following behind on her own motorbike.’
      • ‘The 18-year-old from Toothill was riding pillion on the motorbike when it was in collision with a car on Great Western Way on Friday.’
      • ‘The biker's wife, a 40-year-old woman riding pillion, suffered a broken wrist and suspected broken leg’
      • ‘The 62 brave women volunteered to ride pillion with members of the Essex Harley Davidson and Honda clubs to raise money for Little Haven Children's Hospice.’
      • ‘He was riding pillion on a motorbike which crashed while avoiding police.’
      • ‘If you've a partner who refuses to ride pillion, you've the option of adding a sidecar.’
      • ‘The inquiry at Westminster Coroner's Court heard how Clayton Skipworth, 22, was riding pillion on a motorcycle on Clapham Common Northside late in the evening of Friday, September 13.’
      • ‘The rules to be followed while travelling in buses, autorickshaws, cars and riding pillion on two-wheelers have been listed.’
      • ‘He was riding pillion with his boss when the bike collided with a car on the Great Western Way.’


Late 15th century (denoting a light saddle): from Scottish Gaelic pillean, Irish pillín ‘small cushion’, diminutive of pell, from Latin pellis ‘skin’.