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See also: bee-line


Alternative forms[edit]


From bee +‎ line, due to the belief that a bee returns to its hive in a straight course, originally an Americanism.[1]


  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /ˈbiːlaɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːlaɪn


beeline (plural beelines)

  1. A very direct or quick path or trip.
    to make / strike a beeline for / to something
    The children made a beeline to the swimming pool.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 16]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare and Company, [], →OCLC:
      Discussing these and kindred topics they made a beeline across the back of the Customhouse and passed under the Loop Line bridge where a brazier of coke burning in front of a sentrybox or something like one attracted their rather lagging footsteps.
    • 1998, Cory Doctorow, Super Man and the Bug Out[1]:
      Hershie made a beeline for Thomas's table, not making eye-contact with the others — old-guard activists who still saw him as a tool of the war-machine.
  2. (mining, chiefly historical) A dynamite fuse made with a small quantity of dynamite powder along its length, so that the spark travels quickly and at a specific known rate.



beeline (third-person singular simple present beelines, present participle beelining, simple past and past participle beelined)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To travel in a straight line, ignoring established paths of travel.
    • 2002, Tim Cockey, Hearse of a Different Color[2], Hachette Books, →ISBN:
      A uniformed policeman came off the elevator and beelined for the nurse's station. I beelined into the stairwell. I wasn't in the mood for chatting with the police.
    • 2009 November 24, Simon Dumenco, “Oriole Kooky”, in The New York Times[3], →ISSN:
      Suddenly, a woman beelines to the president, climbs to join him on his platform, —there’s no security around to stop her and leans in for a kiss.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “Beeline” in [John Camden Hotten], The Slang Dictionary [], 5th edition, London: Chatto and Windus, 1874, page 80.