a reddish resinous cement collected by bees from the buds of trees, used to stop up crevices in the hives, strengthen the cells, etc.

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
Also called bee glue. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for propolis

Historical Examples of propolis

  • 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.


    Vernon Kellogg

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

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 hivesAlso called: bee glue, hive dross

Word Origin for propolis

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