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noun, plural bil·boes. Usually bilboes.
  1. a long iron bar or bolt with sliding shackles and a lock, formerly attached to the ankles of prisoners.
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Origin of bilbo1

First recorded in 1550–60; earlier bilbow < ?


noun, plural bil·boes. Archaic.
  1. a finely tempered sword.
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Origin of bilbo2

1585–95; short for Bilboa blade sword made in Bilboa (variant of Bilbao)


  1. Theodore Gil·more [gil-mawr, -mohr] /ˈgɪl mɔr, -moʊr/, 1877–1947, U.S. Southern populist politician: senator 1935–47.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for bilbo

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The fool came at me, bilbo in hand, and I was forced to draw.'

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He can't hurt you—he has broken his bilbo across—the symbol of gentility.

    The Cock and Anchor

    Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

  • Some of them belonged to the crowd who opposed Bilbo Grundy's fabulous invention.

    In the Cards

    Alan Cogan

  • That was the one basic mistake that we, and everyone else, made when we discussed the Bilbo Grundy Projector.

    In the Cards

    Alan Cogan

  • The real thing—not the Bilbo Grundy toy, but real physical time travel.

    In the Cards

    Alan Cogan

British Dictionary definitions for bilbo


noun plural -bos or -boes
  1. (formerly) a sword with a marked temper and elasticity
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Word Origin

C16: from Bilboa, variant (in English) of Bilbao, Spain, noted for its blades
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 bilbo


kind of sword noted for temper and elasticity, 1590s, from Bilbao, town in northern Spain where swords were made, in English Bilboa. The town name is Roman Bellum Vadum "beautiful ford" (over the Nervion River).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper