1. The general and popular term for a firm, upright, insulated support for a superstructure; a pier, column, or post; also, a column or shaft not supporting a superstructure, as one erected for a monument or an ornament. "Jacob set a pillar upon her grave." (Gen. Xxxv. 20) "The place . . . Vast and proud, Supported by a hundred pillars stood." (Dryden)

2. Figuratively, that which resembles such a pillar in appearance, character, or office; a supporter or mainstay; as, the Pillars of Hercules; a pillar of the state. "You are a well-deserving pillar." "By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire." (Milton)

3. A portable ornamental column, formerly carried before a cardinal, as emblematic of his support to the church.

4. The center of the volta, ring, or manege ground, around which a horse turns. From pillar to post, hither and thither; to and fro; from one place or predicament to another; backward and forward. Pillar saint. See Stylite. Pillars of the fauces. See Fauces.

Origin: OE. PilerF. Pilier, LL. Pilare, pilarium, pilarius, fr. L. Pila a pillar. See Pile a heap.

(01 Mar 1998)