bee

1 of 4

noun (1)

1
: any of numerous hymenopterous insects (superfamily Apoidea) that differ from the related wasps especially in the heavier hairier body and in having sucking as well as chewing mouthparts, that feed on pollen and nectar, and that store both and often also honey see africanized bee, bumblebee, carpenter bee, honeybee, sweat bee
2
: an eccentric notion : fancy
beelike adjective

bee

2 of 4

noun (2)

: the letter b

bee

3 of 4

noun (3)

: a gathering of people for a specific purpose
a quilting bee

BEE

4 of 4

abbreviation

bachelor of electrical engineering
Phrases
bee in one's bonnet

Examples of bee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Thanks to these specimens and the researchers studying them now, the discovery of these bees means new frontiers for taxonomists. Julia Daye, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 Rose is working on a postgraduate dissertation focusing on finding ways to save the world’s bee population. Murtada Elfadl, Variety, 27 Jan. 2024 One in three bites of our food come from bees’ work. Kimberly Winter Stern, Kansas City Star, 25 Jan. 2024 Petitioners say the Southern Plains bumble bee should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 24 Jan. 2024 Urban farms also create homes for bees and urban wildlife, while offering some protection from the urban heat island effect. Benjamin Goldstein, The Conversation, 22 Jan. 2024 Then a set of algorithms aligns the two videos and produces versions of the footage that are representative of different animals’ color views, such as those of birds or bees. Lauren Leffer, Scientific American, 23 Jan. 2024 As the queen bee of Northshore High, Regina is often shown verbally attacking her classmates and close friends. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 12 Jan. 2024 The bee population also wasn’t digging the big chill. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bee.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English bēo; akin to Old High German bīa bee, Old Irish bech, Lithuanian bitis

Noun (3)

perhaps from English dialect been help given by neighbors, from Middle English bene prayer, boon, from Old English bēn prayer — more at boon entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1769, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bee was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bee

Cite this Entry

“Bee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bee. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

bee

1 of 2 noun
: any of numerous insects (as the honeybees and bumblebees) that feed on pollen and nectar and sometimes produce honey and that differ from the wasps especially in the heavier hairier body and in having sucking as well as chewing mouthparts

bee

2 of 2 noun
: a gathering of people for a specific purpose
a quilting bee
Etymology

Noun

Old English bēo "bee"

Noun

perhaps from a dialect word been "help given by neighbors," derived from Old English bēn "prayer"

Medical Definition

bee

noun
: honeybee
broadly : any of numerous hymenopteran insects (superfamily Apoidea) that differ from the related wasps especially in the heavier hairier body and in having sucking as well as chewing mouthparts, that feed on pollen and nectar, and that store both and often also honey see africanized bee

More from Merriam-Webster on bee

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!