Bee season

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bhagavan dasa

Senior Member
Brazil, portuguese
Hi everyone!

I've seen a movie called "Bee season", which brings (in short) a story of a girl who wins a lot of spelling contests. Apart from the title of the movie, when she wins the contest, she carries a cup with a bee on the top of it.

I would like to know what is the relation between spelling and the little insect. In Brazil there is no relation, due to that the translation of the film was Palavras de Amor or "words of love".

Thank you in advance!
  • Forever Green

    Senior Member
    US/MA - English
    Let me know, this night and evermore...

    Ahem. Seriously, nothing. It's an old use of the word "bee" that's fallen out of use except in this context, refering to a gathering to perform a specific activity. No one's quite sure where it came from; the best guess is that the behavior of such participants was reminiscent of them.


    Senior Member
    These competitions are called "spelling bees" so the bee on the award is a visual pun.

    The use of the word "bee" as an assemblage of persons for the purpose of joint work or play originated in America in colonial times, and was taken from the labour of the bees of a hive. Other examples of it are huskingbee and quilting-bee.

    bhagavan dasa

    Senior Member
    Brazil, portuguese
    But even at answers dot com there is a box entitled "spelling bee" in which you have to choose the correct answer... And you do it with no people next to you...

    Were you Forever Green making funny with the Bee Gees song? O my God! Now I also want to know about the Bee of Bee Gees! And also about the Gees of Bee Gees! lol

    Thank you for the replies!


    Senior Member
    Hungarian, Hungary
    Isn't Bee Gees called Bee Gees because of the initials or their names? (BG, BG, BG?)
    OK, I've checked. The members were called Barry Gibb (BG!), Robin Gibb (RB :confused:) and Maurice Gibb (MG :confused:). So I don't know. :( Then maybe only because of Barry-s name, since he was the songwriter.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    They were the Brothers Gibb - which has nothing at all to do with a spelling bee.

    For spelling bee, consider this definition:
    In allusion to the social character of the insect (originally in U.S.): A meeting of neighbours to unite their labours for the benefit of one of their number; e.g. as is done still in some parts, when the farmers unite to get in each other's harvests in succession; usually preceded by a word defining the purpose of the meeting, as apple-bee, husking-bee, quilting-bee, raising-bee, etc. Hence, with extended sense: A gathering or meeting for some object; esp. spelling-bee, a party assembled to compete in the spelling of words. lynching bee:


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The BeeGee's were the Brothers Gibb: BG's.

    The term "bee" refers, as noted, to a communal gathering for joint work or play. For example, a "quilting bee" consists of many women working together at the same time to sew the covers of a quilt to the intervening insulating material. Other work activities that would be done communally in "bees" would include such things as corn husking, flax scutching, apple schnitzing, and the cutting of potatoes for the purpose of having them for seed the next year. Recreational activities that could be done as "bees" would include spelling competitions, and communal singing.

    Because the word "bee" refers both to the activity and to the insect, the insect makes an appropriate emblem to be used on a trophy for the activity.

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Needing a connection between the activity and the insect, I went to The Word Detective for this one. His conclusion is:- The image of thousands of bees in a hive tirelessly working away at their little bee-tasks (making honey, storing honey, planning to sting me) makes a good metaphor for a community or group uniting in a common task, and such unified efforts came to be known as "bees" in Colonial America.

    The word is older than Colonial America and it appears in my Anglo-Saxon dictionary as "beo" originally meaning exist, become or happen.
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