bill

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See also: Bill and bíll

English[edit]

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 bill on Wikipedia

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bill, bille, bil, from Old English bil, bill (a hooked point; curved weapon; two-edged sword), from Proto-Germanic *bilją (axe; sword; blade), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeyH- (to strike; beat). Cognate with West Frisian bile (axe), Dutch bijl (axe), German Bille (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 (also called the peak).
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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]

From Middle English bill, bil, bille, bile, from Old English bile (beak (of a bird); trunk (of an elephant)), of unknown origin. Perhaps from a special use of Old English bil, bill (hook; sword) (see above).

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.
    • 2014 December 23, Olivia Judson, “The hemiparasite season [print version: Under the hemiparasite, International New York Times, 24–25 December 2014, p. 7]”, in The New York Times[1]:
      [] The flesh [of the mistletoe berry] is sticky, and forms strings and ribbons between my thumb and forefinger. For the mistletoe, this viscous goop – and by the way, viscous comes to English from viscum – is crucial. The stickiness means that, after eating the berries, birds often regurgitate the seeds and then wipe their bills on twigs – leading to the seeds' getting glued to the tree, where they can germinate and begin the cycle anew.
  2. A beak-like projection, especially a promontory.
  3. (of a hat or cap) The peak or brim, serving as a shade to keep sun off the face and out of the eyes
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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]

From Middle English bille, from 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 14, Simon Jenkins, “We mustn't overreact to North Korea boys' toys”, in The Guardian Weekly[2], 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.
  9. A set of items presented together.
    • 2017 June 26, Alexis Petridis, “Glastonbury 2017 verdict: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Lorde, Stormzy and more”, in the Guardian[3]:
      Meanwhile, the bills on the main stages skewed towards mainstream pop, with mixed results. Lorde’s Friday evening Other stage appearance was one of the weekend’s highlights. The staging and choreography were fantastic – a giant glass tank on a hydraulic platform, in and around which a troupe of dancers acted out the highs and lows of a teenage party
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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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#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.

French[edit]

Noun[edit]

bill m (plural bills)

  1. (law) bill (draft UK law)
  2. (Canada) bill (invoice in a restaurant etc)