The word “bill” is a noun and a verb. First, as a noun.

A bill is similar to an invoice (factura o cuenta), although “bill” is usually used for personal things such as a telephone bill (el recibo del teléfono o la cuenta del teléfono), a restaurant bill or a repair bill.  Examine these examples:

  • May I have the bill please (¿nos trae la cuenta, por favor?)? This sentence you would use in a cafe or restaurant.
  • I am going to pay the bill (voy a pagar la cuenta).
  • Put the champagne on the bill (…póngalo en mi cuenta).

You can also send a company a bill (or invoice) for work that you have done. A doctor can also give you a clean bill of health (el visto bueno).

Companies have wage bills (gastos de nóminas) and in financial áreas, there are “bills payable” (efectivos a pagar) and “bills receivable (efectivos a cobrar).

Governments present “bills” (proyectos de ley) to parliament, and a parliament bill may be passed (aprobado). Some countries have “bills of rights” (declaraciones de derechos), and if you want to sell your palace in Switzerland you will prepare a “bill of sale” (escritura de venta).

Now, as a verb. In this context it is similar to “anunciar o presentar”. Consider these:

  • Mr. Morales is billed to appear in the opera next week (Señor Morales figura en la opera de la semana que viene).
  • The chocolate shop in Santa Úrsula is billed as the best in Tenerife (lo presentan como la mejor tienda de chocolate en Tenerife).

Finally, birds have bills (picos), and “Bill” is the familiar for “William. So Bill Gates is also William Gates.  

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