from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of several winged, hairy-bodied, usually stinging insects of the superfamily Apoidea in the order Hymenoptera, including both solitary and social species and characterized by sucking and chewing mouthparts for gathering nectar and pollen.
- n. A bumblebee.
- n. A honeybee.
- n. A social gathering where people combine work, competition, and amusement: a quilting bee.
- idiom a bee in (one's) bonnet An impulsive, often eccentric turn of mind; a notion.
- idiom a bee in (one's) bonnet An obsession.
- n. Nautical A bee block.
- n. The letter b.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A flying insect, of the superfamily Apoidea, known for their organised societies, for collecting pollen, and producing wax and honey.
- n. A contest, especially for spelling; see spelling bee.
- n. A gathering for a specific purpose, e.g. a sewing bee or a quilting bee.
- n. A ring or torque; a bracelet.
- v. Archaic spelling of be.
- n. The name of the Latin script letter B/b.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- p. p. of be; -- used for been.
- n. An insect of the order Hymenoptera, and family Apidæ (the honeybees), or family Andrenidæ (the solitary bees.) See honeybee.
- n. A neighborly gathering of people who engage in united labor for the benefit of an individual or family.
- n. Pieces of hard wood bolted to the sides of the bowsprit, to reeve the fore-topmast stays through; -- called also bee blocks.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An insect of the genus Apis; a hive-bee or honey-bee. See Apis.
- n. Any aculeate hymenopterous insect of the division Mellifera or Anthophila, comprising the families Apidœ and Andrenidœ, and including, besides the hive-bees of the genus Apis, the mason-bees, carpenter-bees, bumblebees, etc. See cuts under Anthophora, carpenter-bee, and Hymenoptera.
- n. An assemblage of persons who meet to engage in united labor for the benefit of an individual or a family, or in some joint amusement: so called from the combined labor of the bees of a hive: as, a quilting-bee, a husking-bee, a spelling-bee, etc.
- n. To be restless or uneasy.
- n. To be somewhat crazy.
- n. A ring of metal, usually an ornament for the arm or neck; a collar or brooch; sometimes, a finger-ring.
- n. Nautical, a ring or hoop of metal through which to reeve stays. See bee-block.
- n. [capitalized] In astronomy, the constellation generally called Apis or Musca.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species
- n. a social gathering to carry out some communal task or to hold competitions
Middle English, from Old English bēo; see bhei- in Indo-European roots. Sense 2, perhaps alteration of dialectal bean, voluntary help given to a farmer by his neighbors, from Middle English bene, extra service by a tenant to his lord, from Old English bēn, prayer; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English be, a ring, from Old English bēag; see bheug- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Possibly from dialectal English bene, been, bean ("help given by neighbours"), from Middle English been, bene ("neighbourly help, prayer, petition, request, extra service given by a tenant to his lord"), from Old English bēn ("prayer, request, petition, favour, compulsory service") from Proto-Germanic *bōniz (“prayer, request, supplication”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhā- (“to say, speak”). Cognate with Danish bøn ("prayer"), Dutch ban ("curse"), German Bann ("ban"). More at ban. (Wiktionary)
(Northern development of) Old English bēah. (Wiktionary)
Variant spellings. (Wiktionary)