A form of standing stocks, consisting of a pair of posts topped by a hinged platform through which the head and hands could be placed and secured. Minor criminals and ne'er-do-wells were often pilloried as a form of public humiliation. The pillory was sometimes combined with stocks and a whipping post.

Some people convicted to stand in a pillory also had their ears nailed to the platform to keep them from moving their heads.

Medieval devices used to hold down prisoners for torture (usually in torture chambers though they were also commonly found in town squares to discipline commoners). It was a wooden structure with three holes, two for hands and one for head/neck. It was hinged (the cut across half of the circles) and the prisoner's neck and arms would be placed in the semi-circles, then it would be closed and clamped shut. The stocks (base of the pillary) would be bolted to the ground so that the prisoner could not move and torture (commonly whipping) would be administered.

Pil"lo*ry (?), n.; pl. Pillories (#). [F. pilori; cf. Pr. espitlori, LL. piloricum, pilloricum, pellericum, pellorium, pilorium, spilorium; perhaps from a derivative of L. speculari to look around, observe. Cf. Speculate.]

A frame of adjustable boards erected on a post, and having holes through which the head and hands of an offender were thrust so as to be exposed in front of it.



© Webster 1913.

Pil"lo*ry, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Pilloried (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Pillorying.] [Cf. F. pilorier.]


To set in, or punish with, the pillory.

"Hungering for Puritans to pillory."



Figuratively, to expose to public scorn.



© Webster 1913.

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