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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Anyone whose baby fits the bill should contact Wendy Smith on 024 7635 2222.
Elland Road gaffer David O'Leary is looking for a young back-up for England international Nigel Martyn and 24-year-old McCaldon fits the bill.
Tung have developed a form of calcium phosphate that fits the bill. It's amorphous - that is, there's no consistent order to the material - so it dissolves quickly and easily, It also precipitates on teeth in the hard crystalline form.
Aisleyne is blonde and busty - she fits the bill perfectly."
This Group 3 for stayers often goes to a decent sort and The Last Drop fits the bill this time.
THE crux of the matter with Craig Bellamy is that we need pace at the right price and he fits the bill and budget (as long as he behaves himself!)
But McIlroy is desperate to add experience to his youthful side and Griffin fits the bill.
If you or someone you know fits the bill and would enjoy being featured in the programme, contact BBC2 on 0121 432 9915 or 9639, or e-mail them at or write to Room G29, BBC Birmingham, Pebble Mill Road, Birmingham B5 7QQ.
If you reckon your fella fits the bill, send a picture of him at work to: HUNKY BUILDERS, The Sunday People, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AP.
Naunton Brook fits the bill, should handle the ground, and looks the type to collect a prize like this.