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1. a statute in draft, before it becomes law
2. Law See bill of indictment


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 promontory
4. Nautical the pointed tip of the fluke of an anchor
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also beak), an organ of birds formed by elongated, toothless mandibles covered with a hornlike sheath, or ramphotheca, which grows continuously. The ramphotheca of some birds is seasonally cast off (for example, birds of the family Tetraonidae). In the embryo of birds a sharp bony protuberance, the egg tooth, temporarily appears near the upper portion of the bill. The egg tooth assists in opening the shell during hatching. In many birds the base of the upper portion of the bill is covered with a waxy substance.

The size and shape of the bill varies in different birds. For some birds the bill assures the capture and, at times, dismemberment of prey; for other birds, the ability to peck and dig. The bill is used to carry out other complex functions, such as the cleaning of feathers and the building of nests. This diversity of functions is made possible by the mobility of the upper portion of the bill, which can be moved up and down or bent in the middle.

Bill-like formations are also found in several mammals (of the subclass Prototheria), reptiles (turtles), and cephalopodan mollusks.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(design engineering)
One blade of a pair of scissors.
(invertebrate zoology)
A flattened portion of the shell margin of the broad end of an oyster.
(naval architecture)
The point at the end of an anchor fluke.
(vertebrate zoology)
The jaws, together with the horny covering, of a bird.
Any jawlike mouthpart.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Old Bill appears on the reverse looking cynically at the army issue tin of plum and apple economy jam, with the inscription "When the 'ell is it going to be strawberry".
Old Bill was to be both a curse and a blessing for Bairnsfather, who simply couldn't branch into anything new.
In addition to book and commercial illustration, Bairnsfather produced a number of books himself, including Bullets and Billets (1916), From Mud to Mufti (1919), Laughing Through the Orient (1933), Old Bill Looks at Europe (1935), Jeeps and Jests (1943) and an autobiography, Wide Canvas (1939).
I confess that I myself, in common with Old Bill and many others like him, had had secret doubts as to the possibility of high-quality soldiers being manufactured under the somewhat over-coddled sounding conditions I had to read about.
Carlton ware | |WW1 model based on the comical character, Old Bill Before the First World War, the traditional female role in Western countries was confined to looking after the family at home or domestic service - but the war opened up a wider range of occupations and hastened the collapse of traditional women's employment.
I had to say, 'Have a little tot of old run with Old Bill'.
To be fair to the Old Bill, they'd been called by bouncers after Louise - linked with Blue's LEE RYAN and soccer ace RIO FERDINAND - got in a spot of bother at the Pacha club in London's Victoria.
McQueen mentioned Old Bill, a project set around life in a police station, which had previously been rejected by the BBC.
The two other games went as expected, Old Bill and Bull of the Premier Division seeing off Division One's New Firs Flights 6-3, while the Prem's Riley's overpowered Division Three outfit George V 7-2.
OLD Seth was walking over the moors past the farm of his neighbour Old Bill and heard music coming from inside a shed.
The star of BBC Wales' High Hopes and Satellite City won the role of a pirate called Old Bill in the fourth instalment of the Disney film.
THE Merseyside fans who go scurrying to the old bill, every time a Manchester United player brandishes a badge, offers a snide wave or picks up a mobile phone, really do have a nerve.