(1859-81) the popular name for William H Bonney, also known as William Wright, a US outlaw (= criminal) in the Wild West. By the age of 12 he had murdered a man, and by 18 had killed 21 more. Bonney was shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett. He was later turned into a romantic character in dime novels and films, such as Billy the Kid (1930), The Kid from Texas (1950) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). Aaron Copland wrote the music for the ballet Billy the Kid (1938).