honey

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English[edit]

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A jar of honey, with a honey dipper and scones

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English hony, honi, from Old English huniġ, from Proto-Germanic *hunagą (compare West Frisian hunich, German Honig), from earlier *hunangą (compare Swedish honung), from pre-Germanic *kn̥h₂onkós, from Proto-Indo-European *kh₂ónks (gen. *kn̥h₂kós) (compare Middle Welsh canecon (gold), Latin (pl.) canicae (bran), Tocharian B kronkśe (bee), Albanian qengjë (beehive), Ancient Greek κνηκός (knēkós, pale yellow)), Kurdish şan (beehive).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈhʌni/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌni
  • Hyphenation: hon‧ey

Noun[edit]

honey (usually uncountable, plural honeys)

  1. (uncountable) A viscous, sweet fluid produced from plant nectar by bees. Often used to sweeten tea or to spread on baked goods.
  2. (countable) A variety of this substance.
    • 1908, United States. Bureau of Chemistry[1], Bulletin, number 110-114: 
      The physical properties of the different honeys, color, granulation, aroma, flavor, etc., are indicated in the table only in a very general way.
    • 1949, Roy A. Grout editor, The Hive and the Honey Bee[2]:
      If two of the California honeys, western hyssop and fleabane, having a positive polarization at 200 C. are disregarded, then the remaining...
    • 2011, Stephen Taylor, Advances in Food and Nutrition Research[3], volume 62:
      Eucalyptus honeys could be characterized based on seven volatile compounds, whereas lavender honeys had only five...
  3. (figuratively) Something sweet or desirable.
    • 1595, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 5, Scene 3, lines 91–93:
      O my love, my wife! / Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath / Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty.
    • Shakespeare
      the honey of his language
  4. (non-gloss definition, A term of affection.)
    Honey, would you take out the trash?
    Honey, I'm home.
  5. (countable, informal) A woman, especially an attractive one.
    Man, there are some fine honeys here tonight!
  6. A spectrum of pale yellow to brownish-yellow colour, like that of most types of (the sweet substance) honey.
    honey colour:    

Synonyms[edit]

  • (sweet fluid from bees): mel
  • (term of affection): sweetie

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

honey (comparative more honey, superlative most honey)

  1. Describing a thing involving or resembling honey.
    • 1599 William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1, Sc. 2:
      So work the honey-bees, / Creatures that by a rule in nature teach / The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
  2. A spectrum of pale yellow to brownish-yellow colour, like that of most types of honey.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

honey (third-person singular simple present honeys, present participle honeying, simple past and past participle honeyed)

  1. To be gentle, agreeable, or coaxing; to talk fondly; to use endearments.
    • Shakespeare
      Honeying and making love.
  2. To be or become obsequiously courteous or complimentary; to fawn.
    • Tennyson
      Rough to common men, / But honey at the whisper of a lord.

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]