Definition of humble-bee in US English:



  • another term for bumblebee
    • ‘No bird seems to resist their attacks, but they are sometimes chased by the larger kinds of humble-bees.’
    • ‘Some hive-bees seem to use the holes made by the humble-bees.’
    • ‘In a famous passage of the Origin of Species he described how red clover plants depended upon humble-bees for pollination.’
    • ‘He knew, too, that humble-bees have stings though people often say they have not, and the reason people think they do not possess them is because humble-bees are so good-natured and never sting unless they are very much provoked.’
    • ‘Among the humble-bees, for instance, the workers do not dream of renouncing love, whereas our domestic bee lives in a state of perpetual chastity.’


Late Middle English: probably from Middle Low German hummelbē, from hummel ‘to buzz’ + bē ‘bee’.