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[bil-ee] /ˈbɪl i/
noun, plural billies.
Also called billy club. a police officer's club or baton.
a heavy wooden stick used as a weapon; cudgel.
Scot. Dialect, comrade.
Also called billycan
[bil-ee-kan] /ˈbɪl iˌkæn/ (Show IPA)
. 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.
Textiles. (in Great Britain) a roving machine.
Origin of billy
Scots dialect
perhaps all independently derived generic uses of Billy (male name); for Australian sense compare Scots dialect billy-pot cooking pot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for billy-can


noun (pl) -lies
(US & Canadian) a wooden club esp a police officer's truncheon
Word Origin
C19: special use of the name Billy, pet form of William


noun (pl) -lies, -lycans
a metal can or pot for boiling water, etc, over a campfire
(Austral & NZ) (as modifier): billy-tea
(Austral & NZ, informal) to make tea
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
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Word Origin and History for billy-can



"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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for billy-can



A club or truncheon, now esp one carried by the police •Associated with the police fr the 1850s, but a reference of the 1880s still describes only what would now be called a blackjack, definitely a criminal's weapon

[1840s+; said to be a burglar's pet or secret name for his crowbar, along with Jemmy or Jimmy; he also used it as a weapon]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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