bill

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See also: Bill and bíll

English[edit]

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 Bill on English Wikipedia

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Old English bil, from West Germanic. Cognate with German Bille (axe) and Dutch bijl (axe).

Noun[edit]

bill (plural bills)

  1. Any of various bladed or pointed hand weapons, originally designating an Anglo-Saxon sword, and later a weapon of infantry, especially in the 14th and 15th centuries, commonly consisting of a broad, heavy, double-edged, hook-shaped blade, with a short pike at the back and another at the top, attached to the end of a long staff.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Thomas Babington Macaulay
      France had no infantry that dared to face the English bows and bills.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons.
      In the British Museum there is an entry of a warrant, granted to Nicholas Spicer, authorising him to impress smiths for making two thousand Welch bills or glaives.
  2. A cutting instrument, with hook-shaped point, and fitted with a handle, used in pruning, etc.; a billhook.
  3. Somebody armed with a bill; a billman.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Strype to this entry?)
  4. A pickaxe, or mattock.
  5. (nautical) The extremity of the arm of an anchor; the point of or beyond the fluke.
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Verb[edit]

bill (third-person singular simple present bills, present participle billing, simple past and past participle billed)

  1. (transitive) To dig, chop, etc., with a bill.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Old English bile, of unknown origin.

Noun[edit]

bill (plural bills)

  1. The beak of a bird, especially when small or flattish; sometimes also used with reference to a turtle, platypus, or other animal.
    • 1595, The woosel cock so black of hue, With orange-tawny bill, The throstle with his note so true, The wren with little quill... — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, Scene I, line 125.
  2. A beak-like projection, especially a promontory.
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Verb[edit]

bill (third-person singular simple present bills, present participle billing, simple past and past participle billed)

  1. (obsolete) To peck.
  2. To stroke bill against bill, with reference to doves; to caress in fondness.
    • 1599, As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb and the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Anglo-Norman bille, from Old French bulle, from Medieval Latin bulla (seal", "sealed document). Compare bull.

Noun[edit]

bill (plural bills)

  1. A written list or inventory. (Now obsolete except in specific senses or set phrases; bill of lading, bill of goods, etc.)
  2. A document, originally sealed; a formal statement or official memorandum. (Now obsolete except with certain qualifying words; bill of health, bill of sale etc.)
  3. A draft of a law, presented to a legislature for enactment; a proposed or projected law.
    • 1600, Why, I'll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men. — William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II, Scene I, line 28.
    • 2012 December 21, Simon Jenkins, “We mustn't overreact to North Korea boys' toys”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 2, page 23: 
      David Cameron insists that his latest communications data bill is “vital to counter terrorism”. Yet terror is mayhem. It is no threat to freedom. That threat is from counter-terror, from ministers capitulating to securocrats.
  4. (obsolete, law) A declaration made in writing, stating some wrong the complainant has suffered from the defendant, or a fault committed by some person against a law.
  5. (US) A piece of paper money; a banknote.
    • 1830, Anon, The Galaxy of Wit: Or, Laughing Philosopher, Being a Collection of Choice Anecdotes, Many of Which Originated in or about "The Literary Emporium" — He gave the change for a three dollar bill. Upon examination, the bill proved to be counterfeit.
  6. A written note of goods sold, services rendered, or work done, with the price or charge; an invoice.
    • 1607, My lord, here is my bill. — William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens, Act III, Scene IV, line 85.
  7. A paper, written or printed, and posted up or given away, to advertise something, as a lecture, a play, or the sale of goods; a placard; a poster; a handbill.
    • 1595, In the meantime I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I, Scene II, line 104.
    • She put up the bill in her parlor window. — Dickens.
  8. A writing binding the signer or signers to pay a certain sum at a future day or on demand, with or without interest, as may be stated in the document. A bill of exchange. In the United States, it is usually called a note, a note of hand, or a promissory note.
    • 1600, Ay, and Rato-lorum too; and a gentleman born, Master Parson; who writes himself Armigero, in any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation, Armigero. — William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I, Scene I, line 8.
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

bill (third-person singular simple present bills, present participle billing, simple past and past participle billed)

  1. (transitive) To advertise by a bill or public notice.
  2. (transitive) To charge; to send a bill to.
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Etymology 4[edit]

Noun[edit]

bill (plural bills)

  1. The bell, or boom, of the bittern.
    • Wordsworth
      The bittern's hollow bill was heard.