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


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

Examples of playbill in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
But Gevinson dressed up her quotidian base with lively accessories, wearing bubblegum-pink lug-sole shoes and a thematically appropriate beaded playbill purse from Susan Alexandra. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 19 Dec. 2023 The final photo of the carousel includes a photo of Larson holding up her Spamalot playbill in the foreground with the St. James Theatre stage in the background. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 22 Nov. 2023 Ferguson's post also included a snap of Anderson-Emmons, 16, on stage, the show's playbill and a heartwarming photo of the two posing for the camera. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 Millicent Simmonds and Sophia Anne Caruso were also on the playbill. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2023 Harris, 50, wraps one arm around his daughter and another around Gideon, who matches Burtka by holding up his playbill. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 11 Sep. 2023 Less successful is Víctor Salinas’s portrait of Marcela’s son, Trino, whose age (teenage, per the playbill) seems to waver erratically. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 Erika Jayne’s love affair with Las Vegas started with a playbill. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 19 Apr. 2023 In her playbill bio, Clark made a joke about being an actual kid, and even close up in that Off Broadway house — where Kimberly’s adorable friend Seth was played by the now 19-year-old Tony nominee Justin Cooley — some audience members believed it. Laura Collins-Hughes, New York Times, 10 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'playbill.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1610, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of playbill was in 1610

Dictionary Entries Near playbill

Cite this Entry

“Playbill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


play·​bill ˈplā-ˌbil How to pronounce playbill (audio)
: a poster advertising a play

More from Merriam-Webster on playbill

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