verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)


    have/get a buzz on, Slang. to be slightly intoxicated: After a few beers they all had a buzz on.

Origin of buzz

1350–1400; Middle English busse; imitative
Related formsbuzz·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for buzzing

Contemporary Examples of buzzing

Historical Examples of buzzing

  • There is a continual jostling, and crowding, and buzzing, and striving to get promotion.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • There, buzzing in the air at the tip of his nose, was a lone mosquito.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • My lacqueys flitted about him buzzing and insistent as bees about a rose.

  • A teletabloid was affixed to this post, buzzing, but its stereo-screen blank.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • Why, I've been buzzing about today like a hen with her head cut off.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for buzzing



a rapidly vibrating humming sound, as that of a prolonged z or of a bee in flight
a low sound, as of many voices in conversation
a rumour; report; gossip
informal a telephone callI'll give you a buzz
  1. a pleasant sensation, as from a drug such as cannabis
  2. a sense of excitement; kick


(intr) to make a vibrating sound like that of a prolonged z
(intr) to talk or gossip with an air of excitement or urgencythe town buzzed with the news
(tr) to utter or spread (a rumour)
(intr often foll by about) to move around quickly and busily; bustle
(tr) to signal or summon with a buzzer
(tr) informal to call by telephone
(tr) informal
  1. to fly an aircraft very low over (an object)to buzz a ship
  2. to fly an aircraft very close to or across the path of (another aircraft), esp to warn or intimidate
(tr) (esp of insects) to make a buzzing sound with (wings, etc)
See also buzz in
Derived Formsbuzzing, noun, adjective

Word Origin for buzz

C16: of imitative origin
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

Word Origin and History for buzzing



late 15c., echoic of bees and other insects. Aviation sense of "fly low and close" is by 1941 (see buzz (n.)). Related: Buzzed; buzzing. Buzz off (1914) originally meant "to ring off on the telephone," from the use of buzzers to signal a call or message on old systems. As a command, it originally would have been telling someone to get off the line.



"a busy rumour" [Rowe], 1620s (earlier "a fancy," c.1600), figurative use from buzz (v.). Literal sense of "humming sound" is from 1640s. A "buzz" was the characteristic sound of an airplane in early 20c.; hence verbal sense "to fly swiftly," by 1928; by 1940 especially in military use, "to fly low over a surface as a warning signal" (e.g. that target practice is about to begin):

The patrol aircraft shall employ the method of warning known as "buzzing" which consists of low flight by the airplane and repeated opening and closing of the throttle. [1941 Supplement to the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America," Chap. II, Corps of Engineers, War Department, p. 3434, etc. ]

Meaning "pleasant sense of intoxication" first recorded 1935. The children's game of counting off with 7 or multiples of it replaced by buzz is attested from 1864 and is mentioned in "Little Women" (1868). To give (someone) a buzz (by 1922) is from the buzz that announced a call on old telephone systems.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper