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[prop-uh-lis] /ˈprɒp ə lɪs/
a reddish resinous cement collected by bees from the buds of trees, used to stop up crevices in the hives, strengthen the cells, etc.
Also called bee glue.
Origin of propolis
1350-1400; < Latin < Greek própolis bee glue, literally, outskirts of a city (see pro-2, -polis), apparently orig. the name for a structure around the entrance to a hive, hence applied to the glue from which it was made; replacing Middle English propoleos < Medieval Latin, for Latin propolis as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for propolis
Historical Examples
  • Yes, it is bee-glue (propolis); it is very common on old hives.

  • They are then killed and covered with a coating of propolis.

    Animal Intelligence George J. Romanes
  • They encase it in propolis, which preserves it from putrefaction.

    The Insect World Louis Figuier
  • And Fessa took the last of the propolis from her very roughly.

    Nuova Vernon Kellogg
  • We actually saw two or three arrive, and carry the propolis from off the limbs of each with their teeth.

    Insect Architecture James Rennie
  • The substance had changed along with the form, being composed apparently of wax and propolis.

    Insect Architecture James Rennie
  • Annoyed by this inquisitiveness, the bees resolved to put an end to it, and cemented the shutter with propolis.

    The Industries of Animals Frdric Houssay
  • Besides honey, bees make use of wax to construct combs, bee-bread for larv food, and propolis for glue.

  • The cracks are pasted over with propolis, which is made from resin or gum brought in from certain trees.

    Insect Stories Vernon L. Kellogg
  • If something gets into the hive that can't be carried out, then the bees cover it up with propolis.

    Insect Stories Vernon L. Kellogg
British Dictionary definitions for propolis


a greenish-brown resinous aromatic substance collected by bees from the buds of trees for use in the construction of hives Also called bee glue, hive dross
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek: suburb, bee glue, from pro- before + polis city
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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