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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
"In order to double your money every five years, clubs have to pick stocks" that appreciate 15% a year, and growth-oriented shares fit the bill, he contends.
If YOU fit the bill and are willing to become involved, call our Budget line on 0141-242-3251.
A GILL SAYS: Activities Abroad (01670 789 991, www.activities have an itinerary which might fit the bill. Their "Here Comes The Sun" Turkey holiday offers boating, sea kayaking and tubing with qualified instructors.
If you're a hopeless romantic in search of some good old-fashioned slush, then this sentimental drama should fit the bill. Jennifer Love Hewitt (right) stars as Samantha, an aspiring songwriter who meets the man of her dreams, Ian (Paul Nicholls), while studying in London.
I need a man to help me paint a ceiling, someone tall He will have to bring a hammer and nails to hang pictures on my wallA spanner too will be required t o mend a dripping tap I'm looking for a Chippendale, notan old fat man in a cap So if you think you fit the bill and have time on your hands When you've finished all the work, I'll have the vicar read the bannsby Mrs P.
But 20-year-old Bellion, whose Black Cats dealexpires in June and who has so far refused to sign a new one, would appear to fit the bill. It is believed preliminary discussions have taken place between the clubs, although if the deal is eventually concluded it is unlikely to be done until later in the month.
Hillman of the University of Florida College of Dentistry in Gainesville and his colleagues describe a genetically engineered version of the microbe that may fit the bill.
Two drop-in sessions are being held next week for people who think they fit the bill and have a few hours to spare each month.
World Surfari ( should fit the bill. Each month, this site highlights a different country by showcasing its history, census data, maps and photographs.
A A CAMPING trip should fit the bill and Canvas Holidays (0870 192 1159, have a free "wild and active" service at eight campsites across France, Switzerland and Spain.