1. A pad or cushion for an extra rider behind the saddle on a horse or motorcycle.
2. A bicycle or motorcycle saddle.
[Probably fromScottish Gaelicpillean, diminutive ofpeall, rug, orIrish Gaelicpillín, diminutive ofpell, rug, both fromOld Irishpell, fromLatinpellis, animal skin; see pel-3 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)pillion
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.