Etymology
Advertisement
pillage (n.)

late 14c., "act of plundering" (especially in war), from Old French pilage (14c.) "plunder," from pillier "to plunder, loot, ill-treat," possibly from Vulgar Latin *piliare "to plunder," probably from a figurative use of Latin pilare "to strip of hair," perhaps also meaning "to skin" (compare figurative extension of verbs pluck, fleece), from pilus "a hair" (see pile (n.3)).

Pillage and spoil especially suggest the great loss to the owner, completely stripping or despoiling them of their property ; plunder suggests the quantity and value of that which is taken : as, loaded with plunder; booty is primarily the spoils of war, but also of a raid or combined action, as of pirates, brigands, or burglars .... [Century Dictionary]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
pillage (v.)

"to plunder, despoil, strip of money or goods by open violence," 1590s, from pillage (n.). Related: Pillaged; pillaging; pillager. The earlier form of the verb in English was simply pill (late Old English pilian), which probably is from Medieval Latin pillare.

Related entries & more 
piller (n.)

"plunderer," mid-14c., pilour, from obsolete verb pill "to plunder, to pillage" (see pillage (v.)). Related: Pillery "robbery, plunder" (mid-15c.).

Related entries & more 
caterpillar (n.)

"larva of a butterfly or moth," mid-15c., catyrpel, probably altered (by association with Middle English piller "plunderer;" see pillage (n.)) from Old North French caterpilose "caterpillar" (Old French chatepelose), literally "shaggy cat" (probably in reference to the "wooly-bear" variety), from Late Latin catta pilosa, from catta "cat" (see cat (n.)) + pilosus "hairy, shaggy, covered with hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).

Compare also French chenille "caterpillar," literally "little dog." A Swiss German name for it is teufelskatz "devil's cat." "The caterpillar has in many idioms received the name of other animals" [Kitchin, who cites also Milanese cagnon "little dog," Italian dialectal gattola "little cat," Kentish hop-dog, hop-cat, Portuguese lagarta "lizard."] Compare also American English wooly-bear for the hairy variety. An Old English name for it was cawelworm "cole-worm." Caterpillar tractor, one which travels on endless steel belts, is from 1908, so called from its way of moving.

Related entries & more 
depredate (v.)

1620s, "consume by waste;" 1650s, "consume by pillage or plunder," from Latin depredatus, past participle of depraedare "to pillage, ravage," from de- "thoroughly" (see de-) + praedari "to plunder," literally "to make prey of," from praeda "prey" (see prey (n.)).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
forage (v.)

early 15c., "to plunder, pillage," from forage (n.) or from French fourrager. Meaning "hunt about for" is from 1768. Related: Foraged; foraging.

Related entries & more 
vandalism (n.)
1794, from French vandalisme, first used by Henri Grégoire, Bishop of Blois, in a report decrying the pillage and destruction of art in the course of the French Revolution; see vandal + -ism.
Related entries & more 
prey (v.)

c. 1300, "to plunder, pillage, ravage," from prey (n.) and in part from Old French preer, earlier preder (c.1040), from Late Latin praedare, collateral form of Latin praedari "to take booty, plunder, pillage; catch animals as game," from praeda "booty, plunder; game hunted." Its sense of "to kill and devour" (an animal) is attested in English from mid-14c. Related: Preyed; preyer; preying.

Related entries & more 
sack (n.3)

"plunder; act of plundering, the plundering of a city or town after storming and capture," 1540s, from French sac "pillage, plunder," from or identical with Italian sacco (see sack (v.1)).

Related entries & more 
rapine (n.)

"plunder; the violent seizure and carrying off of property," early 15c., from Old French rapine (12c.) and directly from Latin rapina "act of robbery, plundering, pillage," from rapere "seize, carry off, rob" (see rapid).

Related entries & more