Idiom: 'from pillar to post'


Online dictionaries give the meaning of the idiom as:

But my English-Russian dictionary also gave as an acceptable equivalents, with quite differ (second) meaning:
‘out of the frying pan into the fire’ , from bad to worse, and the like.

I’ve found just a few universal dictionaries that add this meaning (‘from one disaster to another’).

If it was dogs driven from pillar to post there’d be an uproar. - the first meaning, clearly.

People have just had enough being thrown from pillar to post. – probably, the second.

Policemen of twenty to twenty-five years’ service were harassed from pillar to post in the hunt for improved returns of charges and summonses – ?
Which one would you suppose here?

Hi Tamara

I’d never heard the expression “from pillar to post” before… even though I see that it’s got an entry in both the American Heritage Dictionary and Webster’s . :shock:

Webster’s gives this definition:
from one place or one predicament to another


from pillar to post

· If something is going from pillar to post, it is moving around in a meaningless way,
from one disaster to another.

· General … +post.html

:slight_smile: … hmode=none

… Thanks, Amy.
Actually, I’ve now found what I was seeking.
I luckily happened to be not the unique person on the Internet, who asked the question. :slight_smile:

One (old) reason for my question was that in my first language the saying ‘from one disaster to another’ (из огня да в полымя) is quite popular :slight_smile:

Another one (more fresh :)) – my today’s encounter with the phrase
‘His wife was described as a ‘pillar of the community’.