The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Bill \Bill\, n. [OE. bill, bille, fr. LL. billa (or OF. bille),
for L. bulla anything rounded, LL., seal, stamp, letter,
edict, roll; cf. F. bille a ball, prob. fr. Ger.; cf. MHG.
bickel, D. bikkel, dice. Cf. Bull papal edict, Billet a
1. (Law) 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.
2. 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. [Eng.]
Note: In the United States, it is usually called a note, a
note of hand, or a promissory note.
3. A form or draft of a law, presented to a legislature for
enactment; a proposed or projected law.
4. 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.
She put up the bill in her parlor window. --Dickens.
5. An account of goods sold, services rendered, or work done,
with the price or charge; a statement of a creditor's
claim, in gross or by items; as, a grocer's bill.
6. Any paper, containing a statement of particulars; as, a
bill of charges or expenditures; a weekly bill of
mortality; a bill of fare, etc.
Bill of adventure. See under Adventure.
Bill of costs, a statement of the items which form the
total amount of the costs of a party to a suit or action.
Bill of credit.
(a) Within the constitution of the United States, a paper
issued by a State, on the mere faith and credit of the
State, and designed to circulate as money. No State
shall "emit bills of credit." --U. S. Const. --Peters.
(b) Among merchants, a letter sent by an agent or other
person to a merchant, desiring him to give credit to
the bearer for goods or money.
Bill of divorce, in the Jewish law, a writing given by the
husband to the wife, by which the marriage relation was
dissolved. --Jer. iii. 8.
Bill of entry, a written account of goods entered at the
customhouse, whether imported or intended for exportation.
Bill of exceptions. See under Exception.
Bill of exchange (Com.), a written order or request from
one person or house to another, desiring the latter to pay
to some person designated a certain sum of money therein
generally is, and, to be negotiable, must be, made payable
to order or to bearer. So also the order generally
expresses a specified time of payment, and that it is
drawn for value. The person who draws the bill is called
the drawer, the person on whom it is drawn is, before
acceptance, called the drawee, -- after acceptance, the
acceptor; the person to whom the money is directed to be
paid is called the payee. The person making the order may
himself be the payee. The bill itself is frequently called
a draft. See Exchange. --Chitty.
Bill of fare, a written or printed enumeration of the
dishes served at a public table, or of the dishes (with
prices annexed) which may be ordered at a restaurant, etc.
Bill of health, a certificate from the proper authorities
as to the state of health of a ship's company at the time
of her leaving port.
Bill of indictment, a written accusation lawfully presented
to a grand jury. If the jury consider the evidence
sufficient to support the accusation, they indorse it "A
true bill," otherwise they write upon it "Not a true
bill," or "Not found," or "Ignoramus", or "Ignored."
Bill of lading, a written account of goods shipped by any
person, signed by the agent of the owner of the vessel, or
by its master, acknowledging the receipt of the goods, and
promising to deliver them safe at the place directed,
dangers of the sea excepted. It is usual for the master to
sign two, three, or four copies of the bill; one of which
he keeps in possession, one is kept by the shipper, and
one is sent to the consignee of the goods.
Bill of mortality, an official statement of the number of
deaths in a place or district within a given time; also, a
district required to be covered by such statement; as, a
place within the bills of mortality of London.
Bill of pains and penalties, a special act of a legislature
which inflicts a punishment less than death upon persons
supposed to be guilty of treason or felony, without any
conviction in the ordinary course of judicial proceedings.
Bill of parcels, an account given by the seller to the
buyer of the several articles purchased, with the price of
Bill of particulars (Law), a detailed statement of the
items of a plaintiff's demand in an action, or of the
Bill of rights, a summary of rights and privileges claimed
by a people. Such was the declaration presented by the
Lords and Commons of England to the Prince and Princess of
Orange in 1688, and enacted in Parliament after they
became king and queen. In America, a bill or declaration
of rights is prefixed to most of the constitutions of the
Bill of sale, a formal instrument for the conveyance or
transfer of goods and chattels.
Bill of sight, a form of entry at the customhouse, by which
goods, respecting which the importer is not possessed of
full information, may be provisionally landed for
Bill of store, a license granted at the customhouse to
merchants, to carry such stores and provisions as are
necessary for a voyage, custom free. --Wharton.
Bills payable (pl.), the outstanding unpaid notes or
acceptances made and issued by an individual or firm.
Bills receivable (pl.), the unpaid promissory notes or
acceptances held by an individual or firm. --McElrath.
A true bill, a bill of indictment sanctioned by a grand
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
BILLS PAYABLE, COMMERCE. Engagements which a merchant has entered into in
writing, and which he is to pay on their becoming due. Pard. n. 85.