phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: 'boil the billy'

Posted by Pamela on May 26, 2006

In Reply to: Re: 'boil the billy' posted by RRC on May 25, 2006

: : what does 'boil the billy' mean?

: It's Australian for "put the kettle on", i.e. boil some water for tea.

A billy is a small metal pot (usually a can) used for boiling water over an open fire. It's short for billycan (which is apparently a Scottish word). It almost always means what RRC has said (make tea), but oddly enough, if you are actually sitting around an open fire (camping for example) and someone says "I'll boil the billy" this can just mean "boil some water" (for coffee, tea, cup-o-soup, washing clothes or cleaning an open wound). Pamela