- the parts of a bird’s jaws that are covered with a horny or leathery sheath; beak.
- the visor of a cap or other head covering.
- a beaklike promontory or headland.
verb (used without object)
- to join bills or beaks, as doves.
- bill and coo, to kiss or fondle and whisper endearments, as lovers: My sister and her boyfriend were billing and cooing on the front porch.
- money owed for goods or services suppliedan electricity bill
- a written or printed account or statement of money owed
- mainly British such an account for food and drink in a restaurant, hotel, etcUsual US and Canadian word: check
- any printed or written list of items, events, etc, such as a theatre programmewho’s on the bill tonight?
- fit the bill or fill the bill informal to serve or perform adequately
- a statute in draft, before it becomes law
- a printed notice or advertisement; poster
- US and Canadian a piece of paper money; note
- an obsolete name for promissory note
- law See bill of indictment
- See bill of exchange
- See bill of fare
- archaic any document
- to send or present an account for payment to (a person)
- to enter (items, goods, etc) on an account or statement
- to advertise by posters
- to schedule as a future programmethe play is billed for next week
- the mouthpart of a bird, consisting of projecting jaws covered with a horny sheath; beak. It varies in shape and size according to the type of food eaten and may also be used as a weapon
- any beaklike mouthpart in other animals
- a narrow promontoryPortland Bill
- nautical the pointed tip of the fluke of an anchor
- (of birds, esp doves) to touch bills together
- (of lovers) to kiss and whisper amorously
- a pike or halberd with a narrow hooked blade
- short for billhook
- ornithol another word for boom 1 (def. 4)
“written statement,” mid-14c., from Anglo-French bille, Anglo-Latin billa “list,” from Medieval Latin bulla “decree, seal, sealed document,” in classical Latin “bubble, boss, stud, amulet for the neck” (hence “seal;” see bull (n.2)). Sense of “account, invoice” first recorded c.1400; that of “order to pay” (technically bill of exchange) is from 1570s; that of “paper money” is from 1660s. Meaning “draft of an act of Parliament” is from 1510s.
“bird’s beak,” Old English bill “bill, bird’s beak,” related to bill, a poetic word for a kind of sword (especially one with a hooked blade), from a common Germanic word for cutting or chopping weapons (cf. Old High German bihal, Old Norse bilda “hatchet,” Old Saxon bil “sword”), from PIE root *bheie- “to cut, to strike” (cf. Armenian bir “cudgel,” Greek phitos “block of wood,” Old Church Slavonic biti “to strike,” Old Irish biail “ax”). Used also in Middle English of beak-like projections of land (e.g. Portland Bill).
ancient weapon, Old English bill “sword (especially one with a hooked blade), chopping tool,” common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon bil “sword,” Middle Dutch bile, Dutch bijl, Old High German bihal, German Beil, Old Norse bilda “hatchet.” See bill (n.2).
see clean bill of health; fill the bill; foot the bill; sell a bill of goods.