One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
- another term for bumblebee
- ‘In a famous passage of the Origin of Species he described how red clover plants depended upon humble-bees for pollination.’
- ‘Some hive-bees seem to use the holes made by the humble-bees.’
- ‘No bird seems to resist their attacks, but they are sometimes chased by the larger kinds of humble-bees.’
- ‘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’.
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