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billy

[bil-ee]
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noun, plural bil·lies.
  1. Also called billy club. a police officer's club or baton.
  2. a heavy wooden stick used as a weapon; cudgel.
  3. Scot. Dialect. comrade.
  4. Also called bil·ly·can [bil-ee-kan] /ˈbɪl iˌkæn/. Australian. any container in which water may be carried and boiled over a campfire, ranging from a makeshift tin can to a special earthenware kettle; any pot or kettle in which tea is boiled over a campfire.
  5. Textiles. (in Great Britain) a roving machine.
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Origin of billy

perhaps all independently derived generic uses of Billy (male name); for Australian sense compare Scots dialect billy-pot cooking pot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for billycan

billy1

noun plural -lies
  1. US and Canadian a wooden club esp a police officer's truncheon
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Word Origin

C19: special use of the name Billy, pet form of William

billy2

billycan (ˈbɪlɪˌkæn)

noun plural -lies or -lycans
  1. a metal can or pot for boiling water, etc, over a campfire
  2. Australian and NZ (as modifier)billy-tea
  3. Australian and NZ informal to make tea
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Word Origin

C19: from Scot billypot cooking vessel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for billycan

billy

n.

"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 (cf. jack, jimmy, jenny).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper