Pillory, an instrument of punishment, consisting of a wooden frame erected on posts, having holes in it through which the head and arms of the culprit were thrust, in which position he remained for a certain time prescribed by his sentence exposed to the view of the public. It existed in France, where it was anciently called pillorie, and in more modern times carcan, from the iron collar used to fasten the neck of a criminal to a post; in Germany, where it was called Pranger; and in England even before the Norman conquest, where it was called healfange, or more correctly halsfang (catch-neck). By the " statutes of the pillory " passed in the reign of Henry III., the punishment was employed for such crimes as forestalling, using deceitful weights, perjury, and forgery. According to the form of the judgment, the criminal was to be set in or upon the pillory. Being pilloried was a real punishment or not, according to the number of the criminal's personal friends or enemies. The former sometimes rallied in force, fed him, sheltered him from the weather, and turned the affair into a triumph; the latter often pelted him with rotten eggs and stones, and sometimes he lost his life.
The use of the pillory was abolished in England in all cases except perjury in 1816, and altogether in 1837. In like manner, when the penal code of France was revised in 1832, the car-can was abolished. The punishment of the pillory was provided for some offences against the United States by early statutes, but was abolished in 1839.