English for beekeepers

“Bee” and “honey” in 42 languages, just in case

Bees and honey are popular wherever humans have roamed. Photo by David Hablützel

Here’s a chart with 42 translations of bee and honey. Honey bees are popular everywhere humans have gone.

These words often show up in searches, so I decided to make a table of translations. I had guessed that many of them meant either “bee” or “honey” because they show up frequently, almost every day. So just for fun, here are those two words in 42 languages.

Language

Bee

Honey

   
Arabicنَحْلَـه، نَحْـلعَسَل
Bulgarianпчеламед
Chinese蜜蜂蜂蜜
Croatianpčelamed
Czechvčelamed
Danishbihonning
Dutchbijhoning
Estonianmesilanemesi
Euskera (Basque)erleezti
Farsiزنبورعسل
Finnishampiainenhunaja
Frenchabeillemiel
GermanBieneHonig
GreekμέλισσαΜέλι
Hebrewדְבוֹרָהדבש
Hindiमधुमक्खीशहद
Hungarianméhméz
Icelandicbýflugahunang
Indonesianlebahmadu
Italianapemiele
Japaneseみつばち蜂蜜
Korean
Lithuanianbitėmedus
Latvianbitemedus
Malaylebahmadu
Norwegianbiehonning
Polishpszczołamiód
Persianزنبورعسل
Pashtoموچیشات
Portugueseabelhamel
Romanianalbinămiere
Russianпчеламёд
Slovakvčelamed
Sloveniančebelamed
Serbianpčelaмед
Spanishabejamiel
Swedishbihonung
Thaiผึ้งน้ำผึ้ง
Turkisharıbal
Ukrainianбджоламед
Urduشہد کی مکھی ، مگسشہد
Vietnamesecon ongmật ong
However you say it, bees and honey are popular the world over.

8 Comments

  • The Indo-European language that thousands of years ago formed the basis for modern languages from India to Ireland, obviously knew of bees because their word for bee “bhei” and honey “medhu” is the ancestor for so many of the words you list here. Medhu still exists in english as mead, of course.

  • In Icelandic, instead of “bÿfluga” it should be “býfluga” 😉 The pronunciation of “bý” is the exact same as “bee”.

    • Helmut,

      Thank you! I was wondering about that because in the lists I found, German was the only one that included the article. It didn’t seem right to me but having had only one semester of high school German, I didn’t feel competent to change it. I will do so now.

  • Just for completeness you should probably (in your copious spare time—hah!) add English to that list.
    [ducks and runs]

    • Roberta,

      It’s hard for me to believe, but I never even noticed that omission. If I can figure out how I made that table, I’ll try to fix it.

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