I. noun 1. (also honeybee or hive bee) — a stinging winged insect which collects nectar and pollen, produces wax and honey, and lives in large communities.●Four species in the genus Apis, family Apidae, in particular the widespread A. mellifera. 2. an 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. 3. [with modifier] — a meeting for communal work or amusement • a sewing bee.
II. phrases 1. the bee’s knees
‹informal› an outstandingly good person or thing.[first used to denote something small and insignificant, transferred to the opposite sense in US slang.]
2. have a bee in one’s bonnet
‹informal› be preoccupied or obsessed with something.
• the country gets a bee in its bonnet about some failing in schools.
– origin Old English bēo, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bij and German dialect Beie.