AskDefine | Define bill

Dictionary Definition



1 a statute in draft before it becomes law; "they held a public hearing on the bill" [syn: measure]
2 an itemized statement of money owed for goods shipped or services rendered; "he paid his bill and left"; "send me an account of what I owe" [syn: account, invoice]
3 a piece of paper money (especially one issued by a central bank); "he peeled off five one-thousand-zloty notes" [syn: note, government note, bank bill, banker's bill, bank note, banknote, Federal Reserve note, greenback]
4 the entertainment offered at a public presentation
5 a list of particulars (as a playbill or bill of fare)
6 an advertisement (usually printed on a page or in a leaflet) intended for wide distribution; "he mailed the circular to all subscribers" [syn: circular, handbill, broadside, broadsheet, flier, flyer, throwaway]
7 horny projecting mouth of a bird [syn: beak, neb, nib, pecker]
8 a sign posted in a public place as an advertisement; "a poster advertised the coming attractions" [syn: poster, posting, placard, notice, card]
9 a long-handled saw with a curved blade; "he used a bill to prune branches off of the tree" [syn: billhook]
10 a brim that projects to the front to shade the eyes; "he pulled down the bill of his cap and trudged ahead" [syn: peak, eyeshade, visor, vizor]


1 demand payment; "Will I get charged for this service?"; "We were billed for 4 nights in the hotel, although we stayed only 3 nights" [syn: charge]
2 advertise especially by posters or placards; "He was billed as the greatest tenor since Caruso"
3 publicize or announce by placards [syn: placard]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /bɪl/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪl

Etymology 1

bil, from West Germanic. Cognate with German Bille ‘axe’.


  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. A common form of bill consisted of a broad, heavy, double-edged, hook-shaped blade, having a short pike at the back and another at the top, and attached to the end of a long staff.
    • France had no infantry that dared to face the English bows and bills. — Macaulay.
    • 1786: 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. — Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons.
  1. A cutting instrument, with hook-shaped point, and fitted with a handle, used in pruning, etc.; a billhook.
  2. Somebody armed with a bill; a bill-man.
  3. The extremity of the arm of an anchor; the point of or beyond the fluke.
weapon of infantry
  • Finnish: hilpari
  • French: hallebarde
  • Swedish: hillebard
cutting instrument
somebody armed with a bill
extremity of the arm of an anchor
  • Finnish: kynsi
Derived terms


  1. To dig, chop, etc., with a bill.
to work with a bill
  • Finnish: hakata
  • Swedish: hacka

Etymology 2

bile, of unknown origin.


  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.
Derived terms
bird's beak
  • Finnish: nokka
  • French: bec
  • German: Schnabel
  • Irish: gob
  • Russian: клюв
  • Spanish: pico
  • Swedish: näbb
beaklike projection
  • Finnish: nokka


  1. 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.
to stroke bill against bill

Etymology 3

bille, from bulle, from bulla ‘seal, sealed document’. Compare bull.


  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.
  4. 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. 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.
written inventory
  • Finnish: luettelo
official statement
draft of a law
law: declaration made in writing, stating some wrong the complainant has suffered from the defendant
piece of paper money
  • Czech: bankovka
  • Finnish: seteli
  • German: Geldschein
bill of exchange
to advertise by a bill
  • Swedish: affischera
to charge or enter in a bill

Extensive Definition

Bill may refer to:


Other objects called 'bill'

  • Beak, an alternative name for a bird beak
  • Paper currency or banknote, in North American usage
  • Peninsulas of land jutting out into the sea, such as the 'Portland Bill'
  • Police, with 'old bill' as a slang term in the UK




See also

bill in German: Bill
bill in Spanish: Bill
bill in French: Billet
bill in Italian: Bill
bill in Hebrew: שטר
bill in Dutch: Bill
bill in Japanese: ビル
bill in Low German: Bill
bill in Polish: Bill (ujednoznacznienie)
bill in Portuguese: Bill
bill in Chinese: 比爾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

CD, Federal Reserve note, IOU, MO, acceptance, acceptance bill, account, accounts payable, accounts receivable, act, advertise, affiche, affidavit, agenda, allegation, allowance, amount due, antlia, assessment, assignat, bad debts, ballyhoo, bank acceptance, bank check, bank note, banknote, bark, batting order, be a gas, be a hit, beak, beezer, benefit, bill of account, bill of complaint, bill of draft, bill of exchange, bill of fare, bill of lading, bills, blackmail, blank check, blood money, blueprint, bomb, bone, book, books, boost, borrowing, breakwater, buck, budget, bugle, build up, bulletin, bylaw, calendar, call, call in, canon, cape, card, carte, carte du jour, certificate, certificate of deposit, certified check, charge, charges, check, checkbook, cheque, chersonese, chits, circularize, claim, clause, commercial paper, companion bills amendment, complaint, conk, coral reef, cry up, damage, debenture, debt, debut, declaration, decree, delta, demand bill, demand draft, demand payment, deposition, dictate, dictation, docket, dollar bill, draft, dragnet clause, dramatize, due, due bill, dues, dun, edict, emolument, enacting clause, enactment, entertainment, escalator clause, establish, exchequer bill, exhibit, exhibition, fail, farewell performance, feature, fee, fiat money, financial commitment, fish, flesh show, floating debt, flop, folding money, footing, foreland, form, formality, formula, formulary, fractional note, frogskin, funded debt, give a write-up, give publicity, government note, handbill, head, headland, headline, hold-up bill, hook, hush money, indebtedness, indebtment, initiation fee, institution, invoice, iron man, itemized bill, jaws, joker, jus, law, ledger, legal-tender note, legislation, letter of credit, lex, liability, libel, line up, lineup, list of agenda, make a hit, manifest, maturity, measure, melodramatize, menu, mileage, money order, motion, mount, muffle, mull, muzzle, nares, narratio, national bank note, national debt, naze, neb, negotiable instrument, negotiable note, ness, nib, nolle prosequi, nonsuit, nose, nostrils, note, note of hand, nozzle, obligation, olfactory organ, omnibus bill, open, open a show, ordinance, ordonnance, outstanding debt, paper, paper money, peak, pecker, peninsula, performance, placard, playbill, pledge, plug, point, post, post bills, post up, postal order, premiere, prescript, prescription, present, presentation, presentment, press-agent, preview, privileged question, proboscis, produce, production, program, program of operation, programma, promissory note, promontory, promote, prospectus, protocol, proviso, public debt, publicize, puff, put on, question, reckoning, reef, regulation, retainer, retaining fee, rhinarium, rider, roster, rostrum, rubric, rule, ruling, sandspit, saving clause, scenarize, schedule, schnozzle, score, scot, scrip, sell, send a statement, set the stage, shinplaster, show, sight bill, sight draft, skin, slate, smacker, smeller, snoot, snout, spiel, spit, spur, stage, stage presentation, standing order, star, statement, statement of facts, statute, stipend, succeed, swan song, tab, tabulation, tally, theatrical performance, theatricalize, time bill, time draft, tongue, trade acceptance, treasury bill, treasury note, tribute, trunk, try out, tryout, uncollectibles, unfulfilled pledge, voucher, warrant, write up
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