Definitions

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

  • n. An iron bar to which sliding fetters are attached, formerly used to shackle the feet of prisoners.
  • n. Archaic A sword, especially one having a well-tempered blade.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A device for punishment. See bilboes.
  • n. A kind of sword with well-tempered and flexible blade, originally produced in Bilbao and Toledo.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rapier; a sword; so named from Bilbao, in Spain.
  • n. A long bar or bolt of iron with sliding shackles, and a lock at the end, to confine the feet of prisoners or offenders, esp. on board of ships.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Formerly, a sword or sword-blade, famous for extreme elasticity, made in Bilbao in Spain.
  • n. Hence Any sword.
  • n. A long bar or bolt of iron having sliding shackles and a lock, formerly used to confine the feet of prisoners or offenders, especially on board ship: usually in the plural.

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
After Bilbao .
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Bilbo (in Basque), or Bilbao, a city in Spain. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • The Am. Heritage Dict. via Dictionary.com provides two interesting, and quite contrastive, definitions for this word:

    "An iron bar to which sliding fetters are attached, formerly used to shackle the feet of prisoners."

    and

    "A sword, especially one having a well-tempered blade."

    January 23, 2009

  • BilbO, that is. ;->

    February 8, 2008

  • Be careful :-7

    February 7, 2008

  • Bilbo is such a perfect name for a small, ridiculous, ancient humanoid. (The Hobbit)

    February 7, 2008

  • Ah! Now I want to try it again. :-)

    November 13, 2007

  • We have a toy at work called a bilbo-catcher, which is basically that ball-on-a-string thing that you try to catch in a wooden cup.

    The trick to those is to jerk the ball up, not swing it up.

    November 12, 2007

  • "utflings my lord Stephen, giving the cry, and a tag and bobtail of all them after, cockerel, jackanapes, welsher, pilldoctor, punctual Bloom at heels with a universal grabbing at headgear, ashplants, bilbos, Panama hats and scabbards, Zermatt alpenstocks and what not."
    Joyce, Ulysses, 14

    January 27, 2007