Last edited 15 May 2019


The term ‘bill’ can have numerous meanings:

  • For most purposes, ‘bill’ is synonymous with ‘invoice’: a bill is a document which requests payment for previously supplied goods. Bills are issued typically at restaurants following a meal upon which immediate payment is required. The bill normally accounts for the full price of whatever has been consumed or supplied, includes any taxes and does not allow part-payment. Following payment, the customer normally exchanges the bill for a receipt showing that the establishment has received the due payment. Customers also receive bills from utilities, service providers and credit card companies. The latter typically demand payment by a certain date and give customers the option of paying only a part of a bill but will impose penalties in the form of interest if this option is taken up.
  • Bill’ can also refer to a ‘billboard’ – an external, vertical surface or signboard, sometimes freestanding or fixed to buildings, onto which advertising posters are fixed.
  • Bill’ may sometimes be used in place of ‘bill of quantities’. So, for example, if an individual remarks to another: “Is that included in the bill?” they mean is the item in question included in the bill of quantities. (For a further explanation of bill of quantities, see the link below.)

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