Definition of bee in US English:



  • 1A honeybee.

    • ‘As this type of bee is very important for flower pollination, I think my botanically-inclined readers will enjoy learning more.’
    • ‘They are reactive to honey bees and hence all the foods bees pollinate;’
    • ‘Of all the types of bees, honeybees have several advantages as pollinators.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even accounting for native bee pollinators, honeybees still do most of the pollinating of fruits and vegetables in your garden.’
    • ‘As with any type of wasp, bee, or yellow jacket, please exercise care to avoid getting stung!’
    • ‘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.

    Superfamily Apoidea, order Hymenoptera: several families, often now placed in the single family Apidae

    • ‘Perhaps the reason is that social bees, which are largely opportunistic, dominate pollinator faunas in northern regions.’
    • ‘While we waited, the boy who helps there put a box of sugary pastries outside because dozens of gathering bees had filled the shack.’
    • ‘Stinging insects in the U.S. are bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are over 30,000 species of bees and in most of them the bees live solitary lives.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Insects such as bees facilitate pollination as they buzz from plant to plant while feeding on nectar or collecting pollen.’
    • ‘So that touching and feeling is a shared characteristic between honey bees and stingless bees.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, ants, termites, many bees, and some wasps are social insects that form organized communities.’
    • ‘A bee flying home typically pauses at the entrance while a guard bee checks her chemical credentials as a nest mate.’
    • ‘Wasps and bees can be classified as solitary or social depending on whether they live alone or in colonies.’
    • ‘These trees provided food to bats, and many herbivorous mammals, insects, butterflies and bees.’
    • ‘Mr. John Donoghue, president of the beekeepers association, gave a slide show of trees and flowers that are good for bees and insects.’
    • ‘Fennel, dandelions, and chicory are three with beautiful flowers that attract bees and beneficial insects.’
  • 3with modifier A meeting for communal work or amusement.

    ‘a quilting bee’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've been so busy being investigated, preparing for this lynch bee starting tomorrow that I hadn't had an opportunity to…’
    • ‘The old-time quilting bee is well remembered, although most quilts were actually solo products.’
    • ‘Many woman still desire the type of social interaction that quilting bees offered.’


  • the bee's knees

    • informal An outstandingly good person or thing.

      • ‘It's the bee's knees, the dog's tuxedo, I absolutely love it.’
      • ‘It was pale blue crepe with a cowl neckline and quite fitted with cuffed sleeves and a necklace made of white beads - I thought I was the bee's knees in it.’
      • ‘Broadband is the bee's knees, according to business bosses in Britain.’
      • ‘You think you have all the answers, and that you're the bee's knees, but you're not.’
      • ‘I bought a digital camera which is simply the bee's knees.’
      • ‘I hope she'll look back and realise there were 10 other people in that house who all thought she was the bee's knees.’
      • ‘For fans, though, it's the bee's knees and you wouldn't want to not own it.’
      • ‘Natural lighting in all the wards, air-conditioning throughout, it was meant to be the bee's knees.’
      • ‘Arts group chairman Allan Buck, said: ‘This festival is going to be the bee's knees.’’
      • ‘By the end of today you will walk into a room thinking you are the bee's knees.’
      best, finest, pride, prize, treasure, glory, wonder, flower, pearl, jewel, the jewel in the crown, masterpiece, chef-d'œuvre, leading light, pick, choice, paragon, prime, cream, the crème de la crème, elite, elect
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  • have a bee in one's bonnet

    • informal Be preoccupied or obsessed about something, especially a scheme or plan of action.

      • ‘I have a bee in my bonnet that young players don't play enough.’
      • ‘Milbank has a bee in his bonnet over the president's exercise regimen.’
      • ‘I have a bee in my bonnet about the oil and gas industry.’
      • ‘Whatever it is, Neil has a bee in his bonnet this morning folks.’
      • ‘Forsyth, who hails from Glasgow, has a bee in her bonnet about the way the industry is perceived.’
      • ‘‘I've never had a bee in my bonnet about the way disabled people are portrayed,’ he says.’
      • ‘Regular readers will know I have a bee in my bonnet about innovative spins on tarte tatin.’
      • ‘Regular readers will know that ever since I visited Cambodia last year I've had a bee in my bonnet about this one.’
      be fixated, be preoccupied, be infatuated, be possessed, be haunted, be consumed, be plagued, be tormented, be bedevilled, be eaten up, be gripped, be in the grip of, be dominated, be beset
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Old English bēo, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bij and German dialect Beie.