Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short stick or club, especially a police officer's club.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A short rounded club used by policemen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. see billy, n. 1.
  • n. a policeman's club; a nightstick.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a short stout club used primarily by policemen

Etymologies

Perhaps alteration of *bully club; see bully1 or from billet2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • I remember this expression from Bob Dylan's 'Man On The Street', the only time I've ever heard it. The liner notes to the CD mentioned what a brutal term it was and how that fitted the song:

    I'll sing you a song, ain't very long,
    'Bout an old man who never done wrong.
    How he died nobody can say,
    They found him dead in the street one day.

    Well, the crowd, they gathered one fine morn,
    At the man whose clothes 'n' shoes were torn.
    There on the sidewalk he did lay,
    They stopped 'n' stared 'n' walked their way.

    Well, the p'liceman come and he looked around,
    "Get up, old man, or I'm a-takin' you down."
    He jabbed him once with his billy club
    And the old man then rolled off the curb.

    July 1, 2008