General English


  • noun a written list of charges to be paid
  • noun a written paper promising to pay money
  • noun a draft of a new law which will be discussed in Parliament
  • verb to present a bill to someone so that it can be paid


  • noun a small poster


  • noun a written statement of what a person or company owes for goods or services provided
  • verb to send someone a bill for goods or services provided


  • (written as Bill)
    A short-term debt obligation issued by the US federal government. maturity is one year or less. A bill does not pay interest; rather, it is sold at a discount to its face value.

Media Studies

  • noun a piece of paper such as a poster or leaflet with an advertisement on it


  • noun a charge to be paid for work done


  • noun a poster or other piece of advertising material which is stuck on a wall
  • noun a set of various quantities of pieces of type in a font
  • verb to present a bill to somebody so that it can be paid


  • noun a £100 note or an amount of one hundred pounds. An item of black street-talk used especially by males, recorded in 2003.
  • noun the penis. The word was used in this sense by adolescent males in 2000.
  • noun
    (written as Bill)
    the police. A working-class London term which slowly entered common currency during the 1970s, partly owing to television police dramas. The term’s origins are obscure. It seems to have passed from ‘Bill’ or ‘Old Bill’, a mock affectionate name for individual police officers, via ‘the Old Bill’, a personification of the police force as a whole, to ‘the Bill’. It can also be used in expressions such as ‘(look out) (s)he’s Bill!’, meaning he or she is a police officer. Coincidentally or not, in 1917 the Metropolitan Police used Bruce Bairnsfather’s famous cartoon figure Old Bill (he of ‘If you know of a better ’ole, go to it’) on a recruiting campaign. It may also be significant that when the Flying Squad was first motorised, all their licence plates had BYL registrations.
  • verb to depart, leave. One of many fashionable synonyms in use in black street slang, later adopted by white adolescents in the late 1990s. It is probably an alteration of the earlier bail. A variety of euphemisms (like its contemporaries bail, book, jam and jet) for ‘run away’ are essential to the argot of gang members and their playground imitators.
  • verb to have sex (with). The word was used in this sense by adolescent males in 2000.


  • noun a list of charges in a restaurant

Origin & History of “bill”

there are three distinct words bill in English (not counting the proper name), and of them all, the most recent is the commonest. Bill ‘note of charges’ (14th c.) comes from Anglo-Latin billa, which is probably a variant of Latin bulla ‘document, seal’ (as in ‘papal bull’). English billet (15th c.), as in ‘billeting soldiers on a house’, was originally a diminutive form of billa (French billet ‘letter’ comes from the same source). Bill ‘hook-bladed weapon’ (OE), now found mainly in billhook, comes from a prehistoric west Germanic *bilja, which may be based ultimately on Indo-European *bhid-, source of English bite. Bill ‘beak’ (OE) may be related to bill ‘weapon’, but this is not clear. The verbal sense ‘caress’, as in ‘bill and coo’, is 16th-century; it arose from the courting behaviour of doves stroking each other’s beaks.