Word of the Day


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1. when an insect such as a fly or bee buzzes, it makes a rough continuous sound

2. if a place or group of people is buzzing, there is a lot of noise or activity

3.  to move around quickly and busily

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The verb buzz was first used in English at the end of the 14th century to refer to the sound made by bees and other flying insects. The noun followed in the 17th century. Buzz is an example of onomatopoeia, words that sound like the sounds they refer to.


Although the verb buzz was originally used to refer to bees and other flying insects, its meanings expanded to refer to other things that make a similar sound, such as tools and machines powered by electricity. You can say that your head or your ears are buzzing when you can hear a buzzing sound inside them. If a place is buzzing there is a lot of activity there, and if your head, mind or brain is buzzing with ideas or thoughts you have many of them and can’t stop thinking about them. Someone who is buzzing around is moving around busily, like a bee moving from one flower to another. Today is the UN-designated World Bee Day, marking the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia. Using the hashtags #WorldBeeDay and #SavetheBees it aims to raise awareness of the vital role of these buzzing insects and encourage people around the world to protect and nurture them.


“My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery – always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for?”
(Virginia Woolf)

Related words

hum, murmur, purr, rumble

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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