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 Posters and musical playbill photos, clippings from my high school’s newspaper, drawings, and ticket stubs. Anne Cohen,, "Beanie Feldstein Talks Caitlin Moran & How To Build A Girl," 12 May 2020 Her home was filled with memories of past performances from photos to props, outfits and playbills. Jacob Beltran,, "Home where family launched theater careers gutted by lightning strike," 29 Jan. 2020 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

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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Playbill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with playbill

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