1. a bag or case made of cloth that is filled with feathers, down, or other soft material, and is used to cushion the head during sleep or rest.
  2. anything used to cushion the head; headrest: a pillow of moss.
  3. Also called lace pillow. a hard cushion or pad that supports the pattern and threads in the making of bobbin lace.
  4. a supporting piece or part, as the block on which the inner end of a bowsprit rests.

verb (used with object)

  1. to rest on or as on a pillow.
  2. to support with pillows.
  3. to serve as a pillow for: She pillowed the child with her body.

verb (used without object)

  1. to rest as on a pillow.


  1. a cloth case stuffed with feathers, foam rubber, etc, used to support the head, esp during sleep
  2. Also called: cushion a padded cushion or board on which pillow lace is made
  3. anything like a pillow in shape or function

verb (tr)

  1. to rest (one’s head) on or as if on a pillow
  2. to serve as a pillow for

n.Middle English pilwe, from Old English pyle “pillow,” from West Germanic *pulwi(n) (cf. Old Saxon puli, Middle Dutch polu, Dutch peluw, Old High German pfuliwi, German Pfühl), an early borrowing (2c. or 3c.) from Latin pulvinus “little cushion, small pillow,” of uncertain origin. Modern spelling is from mid-15c. Pillow fight (n.) attested from 1837; slang pillow talk (n.) first recorded 1939. v.1620s, from pillow (n.). Related: Pillowed; pillowing.

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