From Middle English bylet, from Anglo-Norman billette (“list, schedule”), from bille + -ette, from Latin bulla (“document”).
billet (plural billets)
- A short informal letter.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter XII, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, […], →OCLC, book VI:
- However, when his cool reflections returned, he plainly perceived that his case was neither mended nor altered by Sophia's billet […]
- 1831, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XVII, in Romance and Reality. […], volume II, London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, […], →OCLC, page 253:
- On their return home, however, she was greatly consoled by Lady Mandeville's reading aloud a billet from Edward Lorraine, regretting that unexpected business,...
- A written order to quarter soldiers.
- A sealed ticket for a draw or lottery.
- 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Francesca Carrara. […], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, […], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, pages 262–263:
- A murmur of applause and gratitude arose from the crowd, which was soon interrupted by the preparations for distributing the tickets. Four pages, clothed in white and crimson, brought in two massive salvers, whose delicate carving was from the unrivalled graver of Benvenuto Cellini. These were filled with small sealed billets, from which the company were to draw, and afterwards open, in succession. The pages first approached and knelt before the Queens, who each took one of the billets, and then proceeded to distribute the remainder among the rest.
From Middle French billette (“schedule”), from bullette, diminutive form of bulle (“document”), from Medieval Latin bulla, hence cognate with etymology 1 above.
billet (plural billets)
- A place where a soldier is assigned to lodge.
- 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XIX, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
- Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
- 1997, Chris Horrocks, Introducing Foucault, Totem Books, Icon Books, →ISBN, page 9:
- 17 June 1940: Prime Minister Pétain requests armistice. Germans use the Foucaults’ holiday home as officers’ billet. Foucault steals firewood for school from collaborationist militia. Foucault does well at school, but messes up his summer exams in 1940.
- Temporary lodgings in a private residence, such as is organised for members of a visiting sports team.
- An allocated space or berth in a boat or ship.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter X, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
- The skipper Mr. Cooke had hired at Far Harbor was a God-fearing man with a luke warm interest in his new billet and employer, and had only been prevailed upon to take charge of the yacht after the offer of an emolument equal to half a year's sea pay of an ensign in the navy.
- (figuratively) Berth; position.
- 1897, Pall Mall Magazine:
- His shafts of satire fly straight to their billet, and there they rankle.
billet (third-person singular simple present billets, present participle billeting or billetting, simple past and past participle billeted or billetted)
- (transitive, of a householder etc.) To lodge soldiers, or guests, usually by order.
- 1824, Geoffrey Crayon [pseudonym; Washington Irving], Tales of a Traveller, (please specify |part=1 to 4), Philadelphia, Pa.: H[enry] C[harles] Carey & I[saac] Lea, […], →OCLC:
- Billeted in so antiquated a mansion.
- 1965, Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and other Writings:
- Destroy, with entire unpity, raze to the ground, those detestable houses where you billet the progeny of the libertinage of the poor, appalling cloacas, wherefrom there every day spews forth into society a swarm of new-made creatures […]
- (intransitive, of a soldier) To lodge, or be quartered, in a private house.
- (transitive) To direct, by a ticket or note, where to lodge.
From Middle English billet, bylet, belet, billette, from Old French billette, from bille (“log, tree trunk”), from Vulgar Latin *bilia, probably of Gaulish origin (compare Old Irish bile (“tree”)).
billet (plural billets)
- (metallurgy) A semi-finished length of metal.
- 1964 July, “Motive Power Miscellany: Western Region”, in Modern Railways, page 70:
- The Saturday evening Cardiff-West Wales mail train is still steam-worked, but a most unlikely locomotive used on May 23 was Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 No. 45250 (5A); it returned on May 25 with a train of steel billets.
- A short piece of wood, especially one used as firewood.
- c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Measure for Measure”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iii]:
- They shall beat out my brains with billets.
- A short cutting of sugar cane produced by a harvester or used for planting.
- (heraldry) A rectangle used as a charge on an escutcheon.
- (architecture) An ornament in Norman work, resembling a billet of wood, either square or round.
- (saddlery) A strap that enters a buckle.
- A loop that receives the end of a buckled strap.
billet (plural billets)
- Alternative form of billard (“coalfish”)
- ^ 1874, Edward H. Knight, American Mechanical Dictionary
- “billet”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
billet c (singular definite billetten, plural indefinite billetter)
- ticket (admission to entertainment, pass for transportation)
- “billet” in Den Danske Ordbog
From Old French billette, from Latin bulla. See French boulette.
billet m (plural billets)
- billet de banque (bank note)
- → Bulgarian: биле́т (bilét)
- → Danish: billet
- → Dutch: biljet
- → German: Billett
- → Latvian: biļete
- → Macedonian: биле́т (bilét)
- → Norwegian Bokmål: billett
- → Norwegian Nynorsk: billett
- → Persian: بلیط, بلیت (belit)
- → Portuguese: bilhete
- → Romanian: bilet
- → Russian: биле́т (bilét), биле́тъ (bilét)
- → Swedish: biljett
- → Turkish: bilet
- → Volapük: biliet
- “billet”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
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