[ bee ]
See synonyms for bee on
  1. any hymenopterous insect of the superfamily Apoidea, including social and solitary species of several families, as the bumblebee, honeybee, etc.

  2. the common honeybee, Apis mellifera.

  1. a community social gathering in order to perform some task, engage in a contest, etc.:a sewing bee;a spelling bee;a husking bee.

Idioms about bee

  1. have a bee in one's bonnet,

    • to be obsessed with one idea.

    • to have eccentric or fanciful ideas or schemes: Our aunt obviously has a bee in her bonnet, but we're very fond of her.

  2. put the bee on, Informal: Older Use. to try to obtain money from, as for a loan or donation: My brother just put the bee on me for another $10.

  1. the bee's knees, Older Slang. (especially in the 1920s) a person or thing that is wonderful, great, or marvelous: Her new roadster is simply the bee's knees.

Origin of bee

First recorded before 1000; Middle English be(e); Old English bīo, bēo; cognate with Dutch bij, Old Saxon bī, bini, Old High German bīa, bini (German Biene ), Old Norse bȳ; with other suffixes, Lithuanian bìtė, Old Prussian bitte, Old Church Slavonic bĭchela, Old Irish bech; the unattested bhi- is a North European stem with the same distribution as wax1, apple; put the bee on is probably an allusion to sting in sense “dupe, cheat”

Other words from bee

  • beelike, adjective

Words that may be confused with bee

Words Nearby bee

Other definitions for bee (2 of 3)

[ bee ]

  1. Also called bee block .Nautical. a piece of hardwood, bolted to the side of a bowsprit, through which to reeve stays.

  2. Obsolete. a metal ring or bracelet.

Origin of bee

First recorded before 1050; Middle English bei, be, bih “ring,” Old English bēag, bēah, bēg; cognate with Old Frisian bāg, Old Saxon, Middle Low German bōg, Old High German boug, Old Norse baugr, Sanskrit bhoga-; akin to bow1

Other definitions for B.E.E. (3 of 3)


  1. Bachelor of Electrical Engineering. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use bee in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bee (1 of 4)


/ (biː) /

  1. any hymenopterous insect of the superfamily Apoidea, which includes social forms such as the honeybee and solitary forms such as the carpenter bee: See also bumblebee, mason bee Related adjective: apian

  2. busy bee a person who is industrious or has many things to do

  1. have a bee in one's bonnet to be preoccupied or obsessed with an idea

Origin of bee

Old English bīo; related to Old Norse , Old High German bīa, Dutch bij, Swedish bi

British Dictionary definitions for bee (2 of 4)


/ (biː) /

  1. a social gathering for a specific purpose, as to carry out a communal task or hold competitions: quilting bee

Origin of bee

C18: perhaps from dialect bean neighbourly help, from Old English bēn boon

British Dictionary definitions for bee (3 of 4)


/ (biː) /

  1. nautical a small sheave with one cheek removed and the pulley and other cheek fastened flat to a boom or another spar, used for reeving outhauls or stays

Origin of bee

Old English bēag; related to Old High German boug ring, Old Norse bogi a bow

British Dictionary definitions for BEE (4 of 4)


abbreviation for(in South Africa)
  1. Black Economic Empowerment: a government policy aimed at encouraging and supporting shareholding by black people

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bee


In addition to the idiom beginning with bee

  • bee in one's bonnet
  • been around
  • been had
  • been there, done that
  • been to the wars

also see:

  • birds and the bees
  • busy as a beaver (bee)
  • make a beeline for
  • none of one's business (beeswax)

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.