Word for Wednesday: Bee

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Some new residents have appeared in the garden. Two nests of bumblebees.

'Bee' originates from the Old English 'boe' which descended from Old Norse 'by', Old High German 'bia' and the Middle Dutch 'bie'.

The 'bee' in 'spelling bee' appears to have nothing to do with the creatures other than perhaps their communal effort ( 'busy bee' has been a metaphor for 'busy worker' since the 1500s and the ones in the garden do not disappoint).

There is a theory that this 'bee' comes from the Middle English word 'bene' meaning 'a prayer' or 'favour' and also in some English dialects 'voluntary help given by a community'. So a community might get together for say, a 'harvest bee' or a 'sewing bee' to help get a task done. In this context then, a community getting together to improve spelling!

By the way, did you know that we can thank Beatrix Potter for cementing the name change from Humblebee to Bumblebee in 1910 with her character Babbitty Bumble in The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse?

21 May 2014
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"Thank goodness for Spellzone during this remote learning phase. The site is easy for students to navigate independently and they're really enjoying the activities and spelling games. You get an awful lot for your money with Spellzone. Really reassuring is the very prompt response with helpdesk queries. I've very rarely needed the helpdesk, but when I have, the issue has been addressed and sorted within a very short time."

Sarah Taggart, Oasis Academy Lord's Hill