• synonyms


[bil-uh n]
  1. an alloy used in coinage, consisting of gold or silver with a larger amount of base metal.
  2. an alloy of silver with copper or the like, used for coins of small denomination.
  3. any coin struck from such an alloy.
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Origin of billon

1720–30; < French: debased metal, orig. ingot, equivalent to Middle French bille log (see billet2) + -on noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for billon

Historical Examples of billon

  • The same result could be got by taking the billon money of Florence and calculating from its silver contents.

    The History of Currency, 1252 to 1896

    William Arthur Shaw

  • In this rsum the mention of billon money has been generally avoided, as unduly complicating the subject.

  • The gold coins do not so signally fail; it is in the inferior metals, especially the billon and copper, that the difficulty lies.

    The Confessions of a Collector

    William Carew Hazlitt

  • The particular coins so designated, were billon or copper, and are described in Lindsay's "Coinage of Scotland," p. 183.

British Dictionary definitions for billon


  1. an alloy consisting of gold or silver and a base metal, usually copper, used esp for coinage
  2. any coin made of such an alloy
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Word Origin for billon

C18: from Old French: ingot, from bille log; see billet ²
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