Main definitions of billy in English

: billy1billy2

billy1

(also billycan)

noun

Australian, NZ
  • A tin or enamel cooking pot with a lid and a wire handle, for use when camping.

    ‘Roger had our fire going and the billy boiling’
    • ‘Back at the camp we found that Roger had our fire going and the billy boiling.’
    • ‘Back at this home base, the billies were soon boiling and a cup of tea never tasted better.’
    • ‘Pushing a pram over the unsealed roads and carrying a billy of milk was quite an adventure.’
    • ‘He taught us to boil billies, harness horses, build harbours in streams, swim - in fact he did what a father would have done.’
    • ‘He says they stop the train every now and then to point out interesting features on the landscape or to boil the billy.’
    • ‘You got up in the morning, you boiled your billy, rolled your swag, got out and did a decent day's work.’
    • ‘By 1.30 we were back at the saddle where Jeanie had the billy boiling, and thus refreshed we bid au revoir to the Matuki and the friendly keas and set off down the valley again.’
    • ‘On returning home they'd boiled the billy and had a good laugh over their dark endeavours; daylight found them in their swags sleeping the sleep of the innocent.’
    • ‘The Ballina Scope ladies will once again provide their complimentary billy tea and damper, while the Ballina Shire Band will provide entertainment.’
    • ‘I was on breakfast duty so I got some water boiling in a billy on a small gas cooker and made some tea.’
    • ‘The milkman filled the billy with a measure from his large can of fresh, untreated milk.’
    • ‘Soon there'll be mud battles in the cane grass, and tadpoles and shield shrimps to get scooped up by children and collected in bottles, billies, or hastily constructed dams… don't take the shrimps home, they'll die.’
    • ‘In my memory and imagination, I always associate them with many picnics in many places, boiling the billy in their shade, by beach, river, lake, lagoon or creek.’
    • ‘At Blanch's hut, which is inscribed with graffiti from before World War II, they boil a billy and chew the fat with venison hunter Allan Tall.’
    • ‘I get up to gather some wood, but the log has caught, with a flame the size of a gas ring, and the billy boils quickly.’
    • ‘His little riverboat, the flat-bottomed, open-sided Water Rat, is nestled in the reeds alongside Toolunka Island on the Murray River, while a campfire is blazing brightly and the billy is boiling.’
    • ‘On a warm summer day their gnarled trunks provide a welcome backrest while you boil a billy and absorb wonderful vistas of vast plains sweeping across herb and grass fields to the distant peaks.’
    • ‘The day begins with a free billy tea and damper breakfast sponsored by the Wyreema Animal Nursery, to get everyone ready for the day's celebrations.’
    • ‘After greeting one another, they sat down to share a billy of tea.’
    • ‘And he sang as he watched and waited ‘til his billy boiled’

Phrases

  • boil the billy

    • informal Make tea.

      ‘they boil the billy for a morning cup of tea’
      • ‘In my memory and imagination, I always associate them with many picnics in many places, boiling the billy in their shade, by beach, river, lake, lagoon, or creek.’
      • ‘I boiled the billy for our hot water bottles and two cups of tea.’
      • ‘One of our very dedicated volunteers came out, "boiled the billy", and fed us.’
      • ‘The workman on the building site went to boil the billy.’
      • ‘He says they stop the train every now and then to point out interesting features on the landscape or to boil the billy.’
      • ‘On returning home they'd boiled the billy and had a good laugh over their endeavours.’
      • ‘Whether it's frying fresh fish or boiling the billy, gas cookers seriously enhance the camping experience.’
  • swing (or sling) the billy

    • informal Prepare to make tea, especially as an act of hospitality.

      • ‘When a friend calls to see a resident in the colony, it is usual to swing the billy and offer him, at least, a cup of tea.’
      • ‘The cracking of stock-whips among the tree-ferns near may cause the lonely hut dweller to swing the billy, intent on hospitable thoughts.’
      • ‘"Now," said the uncle, "run to the water-hole and fetch a bucket of water, and we'll sling the billy."’
      • ‘They stopped for lunch: "Swing the billy, will you, Roy?" Caroline heard one of the musterers call.’
      • ‘"Fancy you turning up," he was exuberant. "I'll swing the billy. Have you had your breakfast?"’

Origin

Mid 19th century: probably from Scots dialect billy-pot, possibly reinforced by bouilli tin or bully tin, an empty tin that had contained ‘bully beef’ (see bully), used as a cooking utensil.

Pronunciation

billy

/ˈbɪli/

Main definitions of billy in English

: billy1billy2

billy2

noun

  • 1

    short for billy goat
    • ‘Some of the younger billies were locking horns in mock fights watched over by the full-bearded patriarch of the herd, a venerable old fellow like something out of the Book of Revelations.’
    • ‘The goat articles were OK in getting one interested in goats, but you did gloss over how difficult it can be to rent or borrow a billy for breeding.’
    • ‘More mild mannered than full-sized goats, these little billies and nannies have become the latest must-have pets for Christmas.’
    • ‘It was a young billy, useless for milking, but pretty.’
    • ‘Some goats were as big as merino rams, with horns that forced even the toughest defenders to step back. ‘They were full-sized billies,’ Carson said.’
    • ‘A British Alpine billy, five British Alpine does and two Saanen does have just been safely delivered to their new home in Katima Mulilo.’
    • ‘It is tethered to a tree, a rangy, brindled, flop-eared, devil-eyed billy that could have been a regimental mascot.’
    • ‘‘Hahaha… he reminds me of the billies we used to have in our petting zoo,’ he smiled.’
  • 2North American A truncheon.

    • ‘In the wake of James Meredith's plan to integrate the University of Mississippi, and the expectation of ensuing violence, one was brandishing a billy club, while the others looked on seemingly anticipating putting it to use.’
    • ‘Just then a guard came down the hall, beating his billy club along the bars of the cells, and yelling for everyone to shut up.’
    • ‘However, I saw a San Antonio police officer yesterday who had three sets of handcuffs, three loaded Glock magazines, one Glock pistol, radios, telephones, a billy club, sunglasses and heaven knows what he was carrying I couldn't see.’
    • ‘In one on-air illustration, she cited a CNN newscaster's emotional description of a female colleague being hit in the ribs with a billy club.’
    • ‘I tilted my head in question, but an officer walked forward with a billy club and said roughly and a bit shakily, ‘Now, young man.’’
    • ‘The truth is that there are governing bodies in charge of enforcing wine laws, but they don't wear tall blue hats and bat you on the head with a billy club for drinking the wrong wine.’
    • ‘Another work of the same year, The Policeman, is a vertical box 14 inches tall that narrows from its open front to its open back, the sides and top perforated with ‘fingers,’ knobs and, seemingly, a billy club.’
    • ‘The Gangs of New York ‘sports set’ featuring a billy club, a shiv and a board with a nail driven through it.’
    • ‘Somewhere down the line, one of the women gets hit in the head with a billy club, but overall they don't attack.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, police violence continues, with one woman striker hospitalized Tuesday for injuries suffered when she was struck by a billy club while picketing a contractor's office.’
    • ‘A lot of them had reputations for being inhabited mainly by prostitutes and drug dealers, although Hayes says he refused to permit that at the Atlantic Shores, enforcing his will with a billy club he kept behind the counter.’
    • ‘Someone really should have cut every scene of Affleck jogging in the red costume, pumping his arms with his billy club in one hand and looking for all the world like a deranged relay runner.’
    • ‘It was de jure segregation; sanctioned by the law and backed by the billy club.’
    • ‘Ida tried to reach him to bind his wounds and was knocked down by a billy club by one of the police officers.’
    • ‘And since our image is the most intimate part of our message that dissent exists and we are its faces they can disempower democratic assembly without swinging a single billy club.’
    • ‘We mount and finish the last leg out, every small climb reminding me my muscles feel like they were beat with a billy club.’
    • ‘Outside the courtroom, he summons his powers to gather evidence on behalf of his clients, occasionally ‘encouraging’ (a billy club helps) reluctant witnesses to testify.’
    • ‘The first cop, the one she had hit, raised his long billy club and stopped time.’
    • ‘The police have always had non-lethal force at their disposal, of course: the billy club.’
    • ‘After being paid with an ounce of weed, Red went partying all night; but meanwhile at his house, a man who had robbed a drug dealer was beaten with a billy club, taken out into the desert and shot in the back of the head with a shotgun.’
    club, bludgeon, stick, truncheon, baton, blackthorn, mace, bat
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 19th century: from Billy, pet form of the given name William.

Pronunciation

billy

/ˈbɪli/