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Last updated at 13:01 BST, Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A pillar of society

A security guard at the Bank of Japan

A security guard stands in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo. Photo: Toru Hanai/ Reuters

Today's Phrase

If you are a pillar of society, you are a very important and valued member of society, involved in many public activities. The term 'a pillar of...' is also used with other groups of people or organisations.

Examples:

Jimmy is a pillar of society. He raised millions of dollars to build a new hospital in the city.

Martin's a great guy. He's the head teacher in our school, runs a local charity, and is known and respected by everyone in town. He's a pillar of the community.

Matilda is a pillar of the church: she's always organising events and tries hard to make people feel welcome there.

Take note

From pillar to post. If you move from pillar to post, or are sent from pillar to post, you are forced to move from one place to another, many times.

Example:

My friend James grew up in a family which moved around all the time. The poor kid was sent from pillar to post and never had time to settle in one place!

Interesting fact

Pillars, posts and columns all support buildings or bridges. A pillar is a strong pole that supports part of a building, and is made of stone, wood or concrete. A column is similar, but usually has decorative features. A post is a small pillar made of metal or wood.

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