honey

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun a sweet yellow fluid collected by bees from nectar in flowers, and stored in a beehive

Food

  • Flower nectar partially digested and regurgitated by the honey bee, Apis mellifera, as a thick sugary syrup with a distinctive flavour. Used by bees as a convenient food source and food storage medium. Its flavour and aroma depend to some extent on the types of flower from which the nectar was obtained. Strict vegans should not eat honey.

Origin & History of “honey”

Our Indo-European ancestors were very fond of honey, and their word for it, based on *melit-, has come down to many modern European languages, such as French and Spanish miel, Italian miele, and Welsh mel (it also contributed to English mellifluous, mildew, and molasses). The Germanic languages, however, have not persisted with it. Their words for ‘honey’ (which also include German honig, Dutch honing, Swedish honung, and Danish honning) come from a prehistoric west and north Germanic *khunagom or *khunanggom. this may originally have described the colour of honey; it has been linked with Greek knēkós ‘pale yellow’ and Sanskrit kān̄cana- ‘golden’.
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