Definition of bee in English:



  • 1A stinging winged insect which collects nectar and pollen, produces wax and honey, and lives in large communities.

    Also called honeybee
    • ‘Even accounting for native bee pollinators, honeybees still do most of the pollinating of fruits and vegetables in your garden.’
    • ‘Of all the types of bees, honeybees have several advantages as pollinators.’
    • ‘They are reactive to honey bees and hence all the foods bees pollinate;’
    • ‘A large, shiny-headed bee hovered over a tangled rose bush and then floated off into the air, the extinguished sound leaving an even deeper silence.’
    • ‘As with any type of wasp, bee, or yellow jacket, please exercise care to avoid getting stung!’
    • ‘As this type of bee is very important for flower pollination, I think my botanically-inclined readers will enjoy learning more.’
    • ‘The foe not being the bee - the honeybee has never let us down.’
  • 2An insect of a large group to which the honeybee belongs, including many solitary as well as social kinds.

    • ‘Stinging insects in the U.S. are bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants.’
    • ‘Insects such as bees facilitate pollination as they buzz from plant to plant while feeding on nectar or collecting pollen.’
    • ‘Most Australian bees are solitary, but some live collectively, in hives and produce honey.’
    • ‘The best kind of bees is the bumble bee, which are bred for their speed and noise.’
    • ‘Mr. John Donoghue, president of the beekeepers association, gave a slide show of trees and flowers that are good for bees and insects.’
    • ‘Perhaps the reason is that social bees, which are largely opportunistic, dominate pollinator faunas in northern regions.’
    • ‘In fact I had noticed a solitary bee dancing in the air at the front of the house on quite a few occasions this season.’
    • ‘So that touching and feeling is a shared characteristic between honey bees and stingless bees.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was their ability to be pollinated by bees and other insects, or perhaps the way animals that ate their fruit could disperse seeds in their droppings.’
    • ‘While we waited, the boy who helps there put a box of sugary pastries outside because dozens of gathering bees had filled the shack.’
    • ‘It's an example of self-organizing cooperative behavior, and it's found among ants, bees, and other social insects.’
    • ‘They also kill pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.’
    • ‘He believed in bees; everything the bee did was perfect, from the way it flew and gathered food, to the way it conducted its social habits.’
    • ‘The fly actually has a rather complex little ‘brain,’ as do bees, ants, and other higher insects.’
    • ‘A bee flying home typically pauses at the entrance while a guard bee checks her chemical credentials as a nest mate.’
    • ‘These trees provided food to bats, and many herbivorous mammals, insects, butterflies and bees.’
    • ‘Wasps and bees can be classified as solitary or social depending on whether they live alone or in colonies.’
    • ‘For example, ants, termites, many bees, and some wasps are social insects that form organized communities.’
    • ‘There are over 30,000 species of bees and in most of them the bees live solitary lives.’
    • ‘Fennel, dandelions, and chicory are three with beautiful flowers that attract bees and beneficial insects.’
  • 3[with modifier] A meeting for communal work or amusement:

    ‘a sewing bee’
    • ‘The old-time quilting bee is well remembered, although most quilts were actually solo products.’
    • ‘I've been so busy being investigated, preparing for this lynch bee starting tomorrow that I hadn't had an opportunity to…’
    • ‘Classes and crops are serving the same social function that quilting bees once did.’
    • ‘Many are now familiar with the One Book, One City program, a sort of mass reading bee, designed to promote civic and literary conversation around a single book read in the same week.’
    • ‘There will be an emergency quilting bee to make them a wedding quilt tomorrow at the Torger's house, but only certain families are being asked to come.’
    • ‘Many woman still desire the type of social interaction that quilting bees offered.’


Old English bēo, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bij and German dialect Beie.