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bee1  audio  (b) KEY 

    1. Any of several winged, hairy-bodied, usually stinging insects of the superfamily Apoidea in the order Hymenoptera, including both solitary and social species and characterized by sucking and chewing mouthparts for gathering nectar and pollen.
    2. A bumblebee.
    3. A honeybee.
  1. A social gathering where people combine work, competition, and amusement: a quilting bee.

a bee in (one's) bonnet
  1. An impulsive, often eccentric turn of mind; a notion.
  2. An obsession.

Middle English, from Old English bo; see bhei- in Indo-European roots. Sense 2, perhaps alteration of dialectal bean, voluntary help given to a farmer by his neighbors from Middle English bene, extra service by a tenant to his lord, from Old English bn, prayer; see bh-2 in Indo-European roots

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