Make a Beeline – Meaning, Origin

Meaning:

To go straight towards something at a fast pace.

Example: Once the store opens its doors, we’re gonna make a beeline straight for the electronics section. They are having a big sale on their laptops right now. I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get one at a cheap price.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
Go straight for (something)
Gravitate towards
Flower, Bee Line
Bees make a “bee line” for flowers containing nectar.

The Origin Of “Make a Beeline”

The origin of this phrase is believed to come from a bee’s behavior after it finds nectar (a sugary fluid that flowers produce).

To elaborate: Bees collect nectar and bring it back to their hive in order to make honey. When a honey bee finds flowers that have nectar in them, they will fly back to the hive to alert the others. How, though, does the bee communicate the whereabouts of these flowers if they cannot speak?

Apparently through a dance. One that is referred to as the Waggle Dance. Basically, after gathering the attention of some fellow bees, the honey-bee that knows the location of the nectar will start to shake and waggle. This bee will add in a few short walks and turns here and there throughout the “dance.” From what I understand, this dance helps the other bees to learn where to go for the nectar. Once the bee has finished dancing, the other honey bees take off in search of those flowers. They fly directly to them, or as the saying goes, they make a beeline for them.

The earliest recording I’ve seen of this phrase in print is from a newspaper called The Davenport Daily Leader newspaper, 1808. It has the same definition as it does today:

“Gustav Stengel Sr., of Rock Island, was thrown from his sleigh on Third Avenue in that city yesterday afternoon, the horse becoming frightened and turning abruptly, ripping the cutter. The horse made a bee line for home.”


Example Sentences

  1. When Sam woke up and realized he was late for work, he made a beeline straight to his car. (In other words, he went straight to his car.)

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