My husband recently bought a motorcycle. He loves it. He rides it to work. He tinkers with it a bit. And he’d like me to ride pillion. Um, say what? Yes, you read that right: pillion. When he first said this to me I thought it was one of his silly made up words. Like when he calls the remote control the dibber. Or when he says he’s en croute instead of en route. But I couldn’t figure out what he was on about when he suggested I ride pillion. Apparently it’s a real word. And specifically, a British term for the seat behind the main seat on a horse, motorcycle, bicycle or moped. You might refer to someone as riding pillion, or the person riding in that position may be referred to as a pillion. I love the derivation. It’s from the Scottish Gaelic for little rug (pillean) or Irish for a small cushion (pillin’). These are from the Latin, “pellis” which is an animal skin. These pelts where used as secondary seats on horseback, and the term carried over to motorcycles. So grab a helmet, grab a partner, and ride pillion into the sunset.

4 thoughts on “Pillion

  1. Thanks but, no thanks! I would have to say no to riding pillion. That form of transportation does not appeal to me. I want a roof and doors on my vehicle. I also require heat and or air-conditioning. PS…Please wear a helmet and BE CAREFUL out there!

  2. haha. I knew the word (from brit mysteries?) and before the end was wondering if worked for horseback too. Then viola! the answer.

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