play·​bill | \ ˈplā-ˌbil How to pronounce playbill (audio) \

Definition of playbill

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bill (see bill entry 4 sense 5a) advertising a public performance or set of performances A playbill—an early poster—advertising Shakespeare's Hamlet at Newcastle's original Theatre Royal in Mosley Street in December 1791 was discovered among prints bought in an auction sale …— Evening Chronicle So the two began plastering up playbills and cultivating a badboy image.— Logan Hill



Definition of Playbill (Entry 2 of 2)

used for a theater program (see program entry 1 sense 2a)

Examples of playbill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her work appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, as well as in playbills., "Christine Chambers, 39, dies; her photos empowered actors of color - The Boston Globe," 21 Dec. 2019 Also on the playbill was Eddie and the Edsels, a perennial local favorite and Key West Express, known for their Jimmy Buffett songs and beach music. Linda Gandee/special To,, "Third annual Westlake Music Festival brings back memories," 16 Aug. 2019 After swapping their playbills for coups of Champagne, the Veuve Clicquot continued to flow throughout dinner. Vogue, "Inside the Opening Night of the Evita Revival at the New York City Center," 14 Nov. 2019 Hence Wagner and Richard Strauss were struck from playbills, while the humanistic Beethoven generally got a pass. The Economist, "The classical musicians who were enlisted in the cold war," 12 Dec. 2019 Before the musical began, Sadie sat sidesaddle in her aisle seat and studied the playbill. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, "Broadway’s New Emily Post Is a Fifth Grader," 21 Oct. 2019 Production notes in the theater playbill show how Connecticut, with its piano-key and comb-cutting industries, was complicit in the devastation of the elephant popular from the late 18th through the late 20th centuries. Christopher Arnott,, "Review: ‘Mlima’s Tale’ at Westport Playhouse a riveting indictment of the elephant ivory trade," 7 Oct. 2019 Photographs and playbills of a Hindu drama attributed to King Shudraka in 1924. Hilary Howard, New York Times, "The Mystery of This Dusty Book, Signed by Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt," 23 Aug. 2019 Myriad of space connections Recapping the history of CCCT for an upcoming playbill, Meek wrote about theater leaders such as Jane Conrad, wife of astronaut Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon. Don Maines, Houston Chronicle, "Theater’s NASA memories mix musicals and moonwalkers," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'playbill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of playbill


1610, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of playbill was in 1610

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Playbill.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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How to pronounce Playbill (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of playbill

: a poster or piece of paper that advertises a play

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