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.