Pillory, a device formerly used for public punishment. It consisted of a wooden frame upon a platform, with openings through which a person's head and hands were thrust. A similar device called the stocks was used mainly to hold the feet and sometimes the feet and hands.
Exposing an offender to public ridicule was a common form of punishment in medieval Europe. In England the pillory was originally used for persons found guilty of perjury, forgery, or dishonest trading practices. It was customary to shave a man's head and beard, and to cut off a woman's hair. In 1637 the pillory became the punishment for those found guilty of libeling the government or publishing books without a license. Daniel Defoe was subjected to the pillory in 1703. In New England, the pillory was a common punishment for drunkenness or immorality.
Use of the pillory was abolished in France in 1832 and in England in 1837. By 1839 it had been abolished everywhere in the United States but Delaware, where authorization for its use was retained on the statute books until 1905.