Spelling Bee


Scripps National Spelling Bee logo

Bees are intertwined not only directly and indirectly with the food we eat, but also in our vocabulary. Chances are you have either competed in a spelling bee, know someone who has or have seen it in the media. Spelling bees have been around for quite some time, yet few know how our favorite insect, “bee(s)”, became associated with these spelling contests. It is very interesting.


Retrieved from: “http://romancingthebee.com/2012/06/19”. Web. 7-11-2013

There is some conversation amongst etymologists (not to be confused with entomologists), on the web site Welcome to English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, about the origination. Etymologists study the history, origin and meaning of words. The British dialect for “bee” is “bean” in Middle English, which means “help given by neighbors”.  The Scripps National Spelling Bee provided a wealth of information on the topic.  The common consensus points to “bee” meaning “social gathering”. Many other activities or “gatherings” had the term “bee” following such as logging bee (1836), and apple bee (1827) and of course the one we all think of, quilting bee.

So the next time you are having a gathering, why not call it a “bee”?!


Works Cited:

– Welcome to English Language & Usage Stack Exchange webpage  http://english.stackexchange.com

-Scripps National Spelling Bee webpage http://www.spellingbee.com/


Written By: Heather Eversole

Heather Eversole has written 22 post in this blog.

As a Faculty Research Assistant, I am a part of the Bee Diagnostic team located at the University of Maryland, College Park. I process samples for the Bee Informed Partnership and APHIS National Honey Bee Survey, primarily seeking out the parasitic mite, Varroa. I wear many hats including generating reports, managing lab functions as well as assisting undergraduates with honey bee related projects. Prior to my honey bee research interests I took part in submerged aquatic vegetation research projects located on the Chesapeake Bay as well as field work involving mangroves in Belize and Florida. You might say I was “stung” by honey bees and now I am hooked. I have my bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Maryland and always eager to expand my entomology knowledge.


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