a program or announcement of a play.

Origin of playbill

First recorded in 1665–75; play + bill1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for play-bill

Historical Examples of play-bill

  • He must remember to ask Gidney for a copy of the play-bill to hang up in his flat!

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I thought, my cheeks burning, my eyes fastened upon the play-bill.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • But she passed him over the play-bill, and lifted the glasses to show him where they were.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • I began to wonder what on earth I should do, when I caught sight of the play-bill.

  • She and Dodo then had a talk to arrange what Dodo called the "Play-bill."

    Dodo, Volumes 1 and 2

    Edward Frederic Benson

British Dictionary definitions for play-bill



a poster or bill advertising a play
the programme of a play
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 play-bill

also playbill, 1670s, from play (n.) + bill (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper