bile (n.) Look up bile at Dictionary.com
1660s, from French bile (17c.) "bile," also, informally, "anger," from Latin bilis "fluid secreted by the liver," also one of the four humors (also known as choler), thus "anger, peevishness" (especially as black bile, 1797).
bilge (n.) Look up bilge at Dictionary.com
1510s, "lowest internal part of a ship," also used of the foulness which collects there; variant of bulge "ship's hull," also "leather bag," from Old North French boulge "leather sack," from Late Latin bulga "leather sack," apparently from Gaulish bulga (see budget (n.)).
biliary (adj.) Look up biliary at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to bile," 1731, from French biliaire, from bile (see bile). Meaning "bilious in mood or temperament" is recorded from 1837.
bilinear (adj.) Look up bilinear at Dictionary.com
also bi-linear, 1851, from bi- + linear. Related: Bilinearly; bilinearity.
bilingual (adj.) Look up bilingual at Dictionary.com
1818, from bi- + lingual. Latin bilinguis meant literally "two-tongued," and, figuratively, "speaking a jumble of languages," also "double-tongued, hypocritical, false."
bilingualism (n.) Look up bilingualism at Dictionary.com
1873, from bilingual + -ism.
bilious (adj.) Look up bilious at Dictionary.com
1540s, "pertaining to bile, biliary," from French bilieux, from Latin biliosus "pertaining to bile," from bilis (see bile). Meaning "wrathful, peevish, ill-tempered" (as people afflicted with an excess of bile were believed to be) is attested from 1560s. This is the main modern sense in English and French; the more literal meaning being taken up by biliary. Related: Biliousness.
bilirubin (n.) Look up bilirubin at Dictionary.com
"reddish pigment found in bile," 1871, from German bilirubin (1864), from bili- (see bile) + Latin ruber "red" (see red (1)) + -ine (2).
bilk (v.) Look up bilk at Dictionary.com
1650s, from or along with the noun (1630s), first used as a cribbage term; as a verb, "to spoil (someone's) score." Origin obscure, it was believed in 17c. to be "a word signifying nothing;" perhaps it s a thinned form of balk "to hinder." Meaning "to defraud" is first recorded 1670s. Related: Bilked; bilking.
bill (n.1) Look up bill at Dictionary.com
"written statement," mid-14c., from Anglo-French bille, Anglo-Latin billa "list," from Medieval Latin bulla "decree, seal, sealed document," in classical Latin "bubble, boss, stud, amulet for the neck" (hence "seal;" see bull (n.2)). Sense of "account, invoice" first recorded c. 1400; that of "order to pay" (technically bill of exchange) is from 1570s; that of "paper money" is from 1660s. Meaning "draft of an act of Parliament" is from 1510s.
bill (n.2) Look up bill at Dictionary.com
"bird's beak," Old English bill "bill, bird's beak," related to bill, a poetic word for a kind of sword (especially one with a hooked blade), from a common Germanic word for cutting or chopping weapons (compare Old High German bihal, Old Norse bilda "hatchet," Old Saxon bil "sword"), from PIE root *bheie- "to cut, to strike" (source also of Armenian bir "cudgel," Greek phitos "block of wood," Old Church Slavonic biti "to strike," Old Irish biail "ax"). Used also in Middle English of beak-like projections of land (such as Portland Bill).
bill (v.) Look up bill at Dictionary.com
"to send someone a bill of charge," 1864, from bill (n.1). Related: Billed; billing.
bill (n.3) Look up bill at Dictionary.com
ancient weapon, Old English bill "sword (especially one with a hooked blade), chopping tool," common Germanic (compare Old Saxon bil "sword," Middle Dutch bile, Dutch bijl, Old High German bihal, German Beil, Old Norse bilda "hatchet." See bill (n.2).
billable (adj.) Look up billable at Dictionary.com
1570s, from bill (v.) + -able.
billabong Look up billabong at Dictionary.com
Australian, "backwater, stagnant pool," 1865, from Billibang, Aboriginal name of Bell River, from billa "water" + bang, of uncertain meaning.
billboard (n.) Look up billboard at Dictionary.com
1845, American English, from bill (n.1) + board (n.1). Any sort of board where bills were meant to be posted. Billboard magazine founded 1894, originally a trade paper for the bill-posting industry. Its music sales charts date from 1930s.
billet (v.) Look up billet at Dictionary.com
1590s, "to assign quarters to," earlier, as a noun, "official record or register" (Middle English), from Anglo-French billette "list, schedule," diminutive of bille (see bill (n.1)) with -let. Related: Billeted; billeting.
billet (n.1) Look up billet at Dictionary.com
thick stick of wood, mid-15c., from Middle French billette, diminutive of bille "stick of wood" (see billiards).
billet (n.2) Look up billet at Dictionary.com
"document, note;" see billet-doux.
billet-doux (n.) Look up billet-doux at Dictionary.com
also billet doux, 1670s, "love letter," French, literally "sweet note," from billet "document, note" (14c., diminutive of bille; see bill (n.1)) + doux "sweet," from Latin dulcis (see dulcet).
billfold (n.) Look up billfold at Dictionary.com
1879, from bill (n.1) + fold, here perhaps short for folder.
billiard Look up billiard at Dictionary.com
singular of billiards, used only in combinations.
billiards (n.) Look up billiards at Dictionary.com
1590s, from French billiard, originally the word for the wooden cue stick, a diminutive from Old French bille "stick of wood," from Medieval Latin billia "tree, trunk," possibly from Gaulish (compare Irish bile "tree trunk").
billing (n.) Look up billing at Dictionary.com
1875, "announcement on a bill or poster," verbal noun from bill (v.); hence top billing (1928). Meaning "act of sending out a bill" is recorded from 1908.
billingsgate (n.) Look up billingsgate at Dictionary.com
1670s, the kind of coarse, abusive language once used by women in the Billingsgate market on the River Thames below London Bridge.
Billingsgate is the market where the fishwomen assemble to purchase fish; and where, in their dealings and disputes they are somewhat apt to leave decency and good manners a little on the left hand. ["Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1811]
The place name is Old English Billingesgate, "gate of (a man called) Billing;" the "gate" probably being a gap in the Roman river wall. The market is mid-13c., not exclusively a fish market until late 17c.
billion (n.) Look up billion at Dictionary.com
1680s, from French billion (originally byllion in Chuquet's unpublished "Le Triparty en la Science des Nombres," 1484; copied by De la Roche, 1520); see bi- "two" + million. A million million in Britain and Germany (numeration by groups of sixes), which was the original sense; subsequently altered in French to "a thousand million" (numeration by groups of threes) and picked up in that form in U.S., "due in part to French influence after the Revolutionary War" [David E. Smith, "History of Mathematics," 1925]. France then reverted to the original meaning in 1948. British usage is truer to the etymology, but U.S. sense is said to be increasingly common there in technical writing.
In Italian arithmetics from the last quarter of the fifteenth century the words bilione or duilione, trilione, quadrilione or quattrilione, quintilione, cinquilione, or quinquilione, sestione or sestilione, settilione, ottilione, noeilione and decilione occur as common abbreviations of due volte millioni, tre volte millione, etc. In other countries these words came into use much later, although one French writer, Nicolas Chuquet, mentions them as early as 1484, in a book not printed until 1881. The Italians had, besides, another system of numeration, proceeding by powers of a thousand. The French, who like other northern peoples, took most if not all their knowledge of modern or Arabic arithmetic from the Italians, early confounded the two systems of Italian numeration, counting in powers of a thousand, but adopting the names which properly belong to powers of a million. [Century Dictionary]
For a time in Britain gillion (1961), based on giga-, was tried as "a thousand million" to avoid ambiguity.
billionaire (n.) Look up billionaire at Dictionary.com
1844, American English, from billion on model of millionaire. The first in the U.S. likely was John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), some time after World War I.
billionth Look up billionth at Dictionary.com
1778, from billion + -th (2).
billow (n.) Look up billow at Dictionary.com
1550s, perhaps older in dialectal use, from Old Norse bylgja "a wave, a billow," from Proto-Germanic *bulgjan (source also of Middle High German bulge "billow, bag"), from PIE *bhelgh- "to swell" (see belly (n.)).
billow (v.) Look up billow at Dictionary.com
1590s, from billow (n.). Related: Billowed; billowing.
billowy (adj.) Look up billowy at Dictionary.com
1610s, from billow (n.) + -y (2). Related: Billowiness.
billy (n.) Look up billy at Dictionary.com
"club," 1848, American English, originally burglars' slang for "crowbar;" meaning "policeman's club" first recorded 1856, probably from nickname of William, applied to various objects (compare jack, jimmy, jenny).
bimbo (n.) Look up bimbo at Dictionary.com
1919, "fellow, chap," from variant of Italian bambino "baby;" first attested in Italian-accented theater dialogue. Originally especially "stupid, inconsequential man, contemptible person;" by 1920 the sense of "floozie" had developed (popularized by "Variety" staffer Jack Conway, d.1928). Resurrection during 1980s U.S. political sex scandals led to derivatives including diminutive bimbette (1990) and male form himbo (1988).
bimetallic (adj.) Look up bimetallic at Dictionary.com
also bi-metallic, "composed of two metals," 1864, from bi- + metallic. In economics, 1876, from French bimétalique (Cornuschi).
bimodal (adj.) Look up bimodal at Dictionary.com
also bi-modal, 1891, from bi- + modal. Related: Bimodality.
bimonthly (adj.) Look up bimonthly at Dictionary.com
also bi-monthly, 1846, "happening once in two months, every two months," also "occurring twice a month," a hybrid from bi- + monthly.
bin (n.) Look up bin at Dictionary.com
"receptacle," Old English binne "basket, manger, crib," probably from Gaulish, from Old Celtic *benna, akin to Welsh benn "a cart," especially one with a woven wicker body. The same Celtic word seems to be preserved in Italian benna "dung cart," French benne "grape-gatherer's creel," Dutch benne "large basket," all from Late Latin benna "cart," Medieval Latin benna "basket." Some linguists think there was a Germanic form parallel to the Celtic one.
binary (adj.) Look up binary at Dictionary.com
"dual," mid-15c., from Late Latin binarius "consisting of two," from bini "twofold, two apiece, two-by-two" (used especially of matched things), from bis "double" (see bis-). Binary code in computer terminology was in use by 1952, though the idea itself is ancient. Binary star in astronomy is from 1802.
binate (adj.) Look up binate at Dictionary.com
"double," 1807, from Latin bini "two by two, twofold, two apiece" (see binary) + -ate (2).
binaural (adj.) Look up binaural at Dictionary.com
"pertaining to both ears," 1861, from Latin bini "twofold, two apiece" (see binary) + aural. In reference to electronic recordings, from 1933.
bind (v.) Look up bind at Dictionary.com
Old English bindan "to tie up with bonds" (literally and figuratively), also "to make captive; to cover with dressings and bandages" (class III strong verb; past tense band, past participle bunden), from Proto-Germanic *bindan (source also of Old Saxon bindan, Old Norse and Old Frisian binda, Old High German binten "to bind," German binden, Gothic bindan), from PIE root *bhendh- "to bind" (see bend (v.)). Intransitive sense of "stick together" is from 1670s. Of books, from c. 1400.
bind (n.) Look up bind at Dictionary.com
"anything that binds," in various senses, late Old English, from bind (v.). Meaning "tight or awkward situation" is from 1851.
binder (n.) Look up binder at Dictionary.com
Old English bindere "one who binds" (see bind (v.)). Of various objects or products that bind, from early 16c.
bindery (n.) Look up bindery at Dictionary.com
1810, American English; see bind (v.) + -ery.
binding (n.) Look up binding at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., verbal noun from bind (v.). Meaning "thing that binds" is from c. 1300; "state of being bound" is from late 14c. Meaning "covering of a book" is recorded from 1640s.
bindle (n.) Look up bindle at Dictionary.com
"tramp's bundle," c. 1900, perhaps from bundle (n.) or Scottish dialectal bindle "cord or rope to bind things." Related: Bindlestiff.
bine (n.) Look up bine at Dictionary.com
"climbing stem, flexible shoot of a shrub," 1727, from a dialectal form of bind (n.).
bing (n.) Look up bing at Dictionary.com
"heap or pile," 1510s, from Old Norse bingr "heap." Also used from early 14c. as a word for bin, perhaps from notion of "place where things are piled."
binge (n.) Look up binge at Dictionary.com
1854, "drinking bout," also (v.) "drink heavily, soak up alcohol;" dialectal use of binge "soak" (a wooden vessel). Noted originally as a Northampton dialect word. Sense extended c. World War I to include eating as well as drinking. Related: Binged; binging.
bingo (n.) Look up bingo at Dictionary.com
lotto-like game of chance, 1936; many theories about its origin, none satisfying; the most likely is bingo! as an exclamation of sudden realization or surprise (attested from 1923). Uncertain connection to the slang word for "brandy" (1690s); attested as "liquor" in American English, 1861. Thomas Chandler Haliburton ("Sam Slick") in "The Americans at Home" (1854) recounts a story of a drinking game in which the children's song about the farmer's dog was sung and when it came time to spell out the name, every participant had to take a letter in turn, and anyone who missed or flubbed had to drink.