Meaning of pillow word in English:

pillow word

Pronunciation /ˈpɪləʊ wəːd/


  • In Japanese classical verse: a decorative word or short phrase placed before a name or other word, for the sake of imagery, euphony, metre, or solemnity.

    Pillow words, of which about 1200 are recorded, were archaic stock conventional epithets, the meaning of which had in many cases been partly or completely lost over time.


Late 19th century; earliest use found in Basil Hall Chamberlain (1850–1935), Japanologist. From pillow + word, after Japanese makura-kotoba pillow word.