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BED'STRAW, n. [bed and straw.]

Straw laid under a bed to make it soft; also the name of a plant, a species of Galium.

BED'SWERV-ER, n. [bed and swerve.]

One that swerves from his bed; that is, one who is false and unfaithful to the marriage vow. – Shak.

BED'TIME, n. [bed and time.]

The time to go to rest; the usual hour of going to bed. – Shak.

BE-DUCK', v.t. [be and duck.]

To duck; to put the head under water; to immerse. – Spenser.

BE-DUST', v.t. [be and dust.]

To sprinkle, soil or cover with dust. – Sherwood.

BED'WARD, adv. [bed and ward.]

Toward bed. – Shak.

BE-DWARF', v.t. [be and dwarf.]

To make little; to stunt or hinder growth. – Donne.

BED'WORK, n. [bed and work,]

Work done in bed, without toil of the hands or with ease. – Shak.

BE-DYE', v.t. [be and dye.]

To dye; to stain. – Spenser.

BE-DY'ED, pp.

Dyed; stained.

BEE, n. [Sax. beo; D. bye; Ger. biene; Sw. bij; Dan. bie; Ir. beach; It. pecchia; Sp. abeja. Class Bg.]

  1. An insect of the genus Apis. (See Apis.) The species are numerous, of which the honey-bee is the most interesting to man. It has been cultivated from the earliest periods, for its wax and honey. It lives in swarms or societies, of from 10,000 to 50,000 individuals. These swarms contain three classes of bees, the females or queen bees, the males or drones, and the neuters or working bees. Of the former, there is only one in each hive or swarm, whose sole office is to propagate the species. It is much larger than the other bees. The drones serve merely for impregnating the queen, after which they are destroyed by the neuters. These last are the laborers of the hive. They collect the honey, form the cells, and feed the other bees and the young. They are furnished with a proboscis by which they suck the honey from flowers, and a mouth by which they swallow it, and then convey it to the hive in their stomachs, where they disgorge it into the cells. The pollen of flowers settles on the hairs with which their body is covered, whence it is collected into pellets, by a brush on their second pair of legs, and deposited in a hollow in the third pair. It is called bee bread, and is the food of the larvæ or young. The adult bees feed on honey. The wax was supposed to be formed from pollen by a digestive process, but it is now ascertained that it is formed from the honey by a similar process. The females and neuters have a barbed sting, attached to a bag of poison, which flows into the wound inflicted by the sting. When a hive is overstocked, a new colony is sent out under the direction of a queen bee. This is called swarming. – Cyc. Ed. Encyc.
  2. In America, joint, voluntary and gratuitous aid afforded by neighbors to their minister, or to any person in need.

BEE'-BREAD, n. [bee and bread.]

The pollen of flowers collected by bees, as food for their young. [See Bee.]

BEECH, n. [Sax. bece, boc; D. beuke, or beukenboom; Ger. buche, or buchbaum; Slav. boku; Russ. buk; Gr. φαγος; L. fagus; It. faggio; Sp. haya; Port. faia. In Saxon, bec and boc is a book. It may be that beech is properly the name of bark, and this being used, by our rude ancestors, as the material for writing, the word came to signify a book.]

A tree arranged by Linnæus under the genus Fagus, with the chestnut. The beech grows to a large size, with branches forming a beautiful head, with thick foliage. The bark is smooth and of a silvery cast. The mast or nuts are the food of swine, and of certain wild animals, and yield a good oil for lamps. When eaten by man, they are said to occasion giddiness and headach. – Encyc.

BEECH'-COAL, n. [beech and coal.]

Charcoal from beech wood.

BEECH'EN, a. [bee'chn.]

Consisting of the wood or bark of the beech; belonging to the beech; as, a beechen vessel. – Dryden.


The fruit or nuts of the beech.

BEECH'-OIL, n. [beech and oil.]

Oil expressed from the mast or nuts of the beech-tree. It is used in Picardy, and in other parts of France, instead of butter; but is said to occasion heaviness and pains in the stomach. – Encyc.

BEECH'-TREE, n. [beech and tree.]

The beech.

BEE'-EAT-ER, n. [bee and eat.]

A bird that feeds on bees. There are several species included in the genus Merops, of which the Apiaster of Europe is remarkable for the brilliancy of its plumage. – Encyc.

BEEF, a.

Consisting of the flesh of the ox, or bovine kind; as a beef-steak. – Swift.

BEEF, n. [Fr. bœuf; beuf, an ox; Arm. bevin; It. bue; Sp. buey; Port. boy; W. buw; Corn. byuh, an ox; Ir. bo, a cow, plur. buaibh; L. bos, bovis; Gr. βους.]

  1. An animal of the bovine genus, whether ox, bull, or cow; but used of those which are full grown or nearly so. In this, which is the original sense, the word has a plural, beeves.
  2. The flesh of an ox, bull, or cow, when killed. In popular language, the word is often applied to the live animal; as, an ox is good beef; that is, well fattened. In this sense, the word has no plural.

BEEF'-EAT-ER, n. [beef and eat.]

  1. One that eats beef.
  2. A yeoman of the guards, in England.
  3. The Buphaga, an African bird that feeds on the larvas which nestle under the hides of oxen.
  4. In popular use, a stout fleshy man.

BEEF-EAT'ER, n. [By corruption from the Fr. buffetier, an officer appointed to watch the buffet or sideboard.]

  1. A popular appellation for the yeomen of the king's guard, partially derived from the circumstance that some of them originally were ranged at tables on solemn festivals. – Brande.
  2. In popular use, a stout, fleshy man.

BEE'-FLOW-ER, n. [bee and flower.]

A plant; a species of Ophrys or Twyblade, whose flowers represent singular figures of bees, flies, and other insects. – Encyc.

BEEF'-STEAK, n. [beef and steak.]

A steak or slice of beef for broiling.