1. the relative position in which a performer or act is listed on handbills, posters, etc.: A star usually receives billing above the title of the play.
  2. advertising; publicity: The show was a sellout weeks ahead of the opening because of advance billing.
  3. the amount of business done by a firm, especially an advertising agency, within a specified period of time.
  4. an act or instance of preparing or sending out a bill or invoice.
  5. the total amount of the cost of goods or services billed to a customer, usually covering purchases made or services rendered within a specified period of time.


  1. a statement of money owed for goods or services supplied: He paid the hotel bill when he checked out.
  2. a piece of paper money worth a specified amount: a ten-dollar bill.
  3. Government. a form or draft of a proposed statute presented to a legislature, but not yet enacted or passed and made law.
  4. bill of exchange.
  5. a written or printed public notice or advertisement.
  6. any written paper containing a statement of particulars: a bill of expenditures.
  7. Law. a written statement, usually of complaint, presented to a court.
  8. Slang. one hundred dollars: The job pays five bills a week.
  9. playbill.
  10. entertainment scheduled for presentation; program: a good bill at the movies.
  11. Obsolete.
    1. a promissory note.
    2. a written and sealed document.
    3. a written, formal petition.

verb (used with object)

  1. to charge for by bill; send a bill to: The store will bill me.
  2. to enter (charges) in a bill; make a bill or list of: to bill goods.
  3. to advertise by bill or public notice: A new actor was billed for this week.
  4. to schedule on a program: The management billed the play for two weeks.

  1. fill the bill, to fulfill the purpose or need well: As a sprightly situation comedy this show fills the bill.


  1. the parts of a bird’s jaws that are covered with a horny or leathery sheath; beak.
  2. the visor of a cap or other head covering.
  3. a beaklike promontory or headland.

verb (used without object)

  1. to join bills or beaks, as doves.

  1. 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.


  1. theatre the relative importance of a performer or act as reflected in the prominence given in programmes, advertisements, etc
  2. mainly US and Canadian public notice or advertising (esp in the phrase advance billing)


  1. money owed for goods or services suppliedan electricity bill
  2. a written or printed account or statement of money owed
  3. mainly British such an account for food and drink in a restaurant, hotel, etcUsual US and Canadian word: check
  4. any printed or written list of items, events, etc, such as a theatre programmewho’s on the bill tonight?
  5. fit the bill or fill the bill informal to serve or perform adequately
  6. a statute in draft, before it becomes law
  7. a printed notice or advertisement; poster
  8. US and Canadian a piece of paper money; note
  9. an obsolete name for promissory note
  10. law See bill of indictment
  11. See bill of exchange
  12. See bill of fare
  13. archaic any document

verb (tr)

  1. to send or present an account for payment to (a person)
  2. to enter (items, goods, etc) on an account or statement
  3. to advertise by posters
  4. to schedule as a future programmethe play is billed for next week


  1. 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
  2. any beaklike mouthpart in other animals
  3. a narrow promontoryPortland Bill
  4. nautical the pointed tip of the fluke of an anchor

verb (intr)

  1. (of birds, esp doves) to touch bills together
  2. (of lovers) to kiss and whisper amorously


  1. a pike or halberd with a narrow hooked blade
  2. short for billhook


  1. ornithol another word for boom 1 (def. 4)

1875, “announcement on a bill or poster,” verbal noun from bill (v.); hence top billing (1928). Meaning “act of sending out a bill” is recorded from 1908.


“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).


“to send someone a bill of charge,” 1864, from bill (n.1). Related: Billed; billing.


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.

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