Definition of pillage in English:


Line breaks: pil|lage
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪlɪdʒ


[with object]
1Rob a (place) using violence, especially in wartime: the abbey was plundered and pillaged
More example sentences
  • During the first two nights of pillaging the Capital City, over half a million people were killed.
  • Tottenham Court Road was pillaged by a mob of sixty hardcore anarchists.
  • European countries raped and pillaged the continent, destroying the social fabric and leaving a metaphorical smoking hole behind.
1.1Steal (something) using violence, especially in wartime: artworks pillaged from churches and museums
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • I deplore the way that the US goes into countries and pillages them, stealing their assets.
  • 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.
dispossess, strip, deprive, denude, devastate, lay waste, ravage, harry, maraud
literary despoil
archaic spoil, reave, rape
rare depredate, spoliate, forage
steal, pilfer, thieve, rob, take, snatch, purloin, loot, rifle, abscond with, carry off
informal walk off/away with, run away/off with, swipe, nab, rip off, lift, ‘liberate’, ‘borrow’, filch, snaffle, snitch
British informal pinch, half-inch, nick, whip, knock off, nobble, bone
North American informal heist, glom
Australian informal snavel
West Indian informal tief
archaic crib, hook, reave


[mass noun] Back to top  
The action of pillaging a place or property, especially in war: rebellious peasants intent on pillage
More example sentences
  • Leaving ‘the whole subject’ to local commanders nevertheless permitted considerable latitude for pillage or destruction and was in itself an important principle.
  • 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.
  • During the 1846 U.S. invasion of Mexico, newspapers reported pillage, rape, and murder of civilians by Gen. Zachary Taylor's soldiers.


late Middle English (as a noun): from Old French, from piller 'to plunder'.



More example sentences
  • We need not look for ‘proof’ by poring over the dusty records of the meticulous pillagers, marauders, and savvy tradesmen.
  • In other lands however there are pillagers and marauders that keep me strong, but soon will come a time when slaughter shall cover these lands and I shall rise above the rest.
  • In the ninth century, when Paris was invaded by the Norsemen, those great pillagers of tombs, her relics were taken for safety some fifteen miles away.

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