Definitions

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

  • n. An implement with a curved blade attached to a handle, used especially for clearing brush and for rough pruning.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An agricultural implement often with a curved or hooked end to the blade used for pruning or cutting thick, woody plants.
  • n. A medieval polearm with a similar construct, fitted to a long handle, sometimes with an L-shaped tine or a spike protruding from the side or the end of the blade for tackling the opponent; a bill
  • n. Written as bill-hook: a part of the knotting mechanism in a reaper-binder or baler (agricultural machinery).
  • n. Written as bill hook: a spiked hook used in offices and shops for hanging bills or other small papers such as receipts.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thick, heavy knife with a hooked point, used in pruning hedges, etc. When it has a short handle, it is sometimes called a hand bill; when the handle is long, a hedge bill or scimiter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A form of small hatchet curved inward at the point of the cutting edge, used for pruning trees, hedges, and the like, and by sappers and miners to cut pickets, rods, and withes for gabions, fascines, hurdles, saprollers, etc.

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

  • n. a long-handled saw with a curved blade

Etymologies

bill3 + hook.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Usually thought to be from bill + hook (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Four sturdy countrymen in homespun came striding confidently, two with bows strung and slung ready for action, one shouldering a billhook, and the fourth a long, handled pikel.

    A Caregiver's Homage To The Very Old

  • If I jabbed at him with the billhook, I might just touch him.

    Wildfire

  • The priest dropped the billhook and freed his left arm from the cloak and took a swipe at me openhanded, caught me on my shoulder.

    Wildfire

  • He stepped forward and his cloak swirled over the billhook, and he wrapped the fur around the blade and yanked to pull the haft from my grasp.

    Wildfire

  • I landed on my side, and the haft of the billhook jerked in my grasp and I stubbornly held on with both hands.

    Wildfire

  • The priest was just behind her, and I swung the broken billhook haft and landed a two-handed wallop on one of his shins.

    Wildfire

  • In my other hand I held the broken shaft of the billhook, as long as my arm.

    Wildfire

  • The billhook had snagged in a rent in the heavy fur.

    Wildfire

  • I took the billhook, and we ran down toward the woods and thickets that marked the path of the stream where we got our drinking water.

    Wildfire

  • It was that sort of upbringing, I now suppose, that has always led me to see guns as just tools, as part of the panoply of rural management alongside the scythe, the billhook and the castrating shears.

    Guns Kill People ( Shock News)

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