How do you say Melissa in _______?
September 29, 2007 5:10 AM   Subscribe

How do you say honey bee in __________? I'm in need of translations of "honey bee" in every language I can find. If you speak another language, please do help!

My wife's name is Melissa, which means "honey bee." We have son whose middle name is a sly reference to his father. We'd like our next child to have a middle name that refers to his/her mother and are hoping that in some tongue or other, the word for honey bee sounds good as a name without being too similar to Melissa.
posted by mds35 to Writing & Language (58 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
A nifty trick I've found is to look something up on Wikipedia.

You have a whole bunch of languages to choose from in the sidebar on the left, and clicking on each one will show you that particular language's translation of the word.
posted by phredgreen at 5:20 AM on September 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


The German is "Honigbiene." That's a feminine noun, so "Die Honigbiene" for "the honeybee."
posted by saladin at 5:36 AM on September 29, 2007


Melissa just means "very sweet", it's the superlative form of mel, "sweet". The word in Latin for honey bee is "apis".
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 5:39 AM on September 29, 2007


AND UPON FURTHER READING: I'm wrong, Zeus apparently transmuted some Greek girl named Melissa into a bee!
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 5:43 AM on September 29, 2007


if you google honeybee, and go over on the top right to [definition], it will link you to an answers.com page with several translations. (scroll down)
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 5:50 AM on September 29, 2007


Zeus transmuted a whole lot of Greek girls into a whole lot of things. If the "honey bee" idea doesn't work out (but I hope it does, because it's cute!), you could always start looking at the long list of other girls Zeus transmogrified.
posted by Stacey at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2007


Swedish is Tambi which is kind of name-y.
posted by fire&wings at 6:00 AM on September 29, 2007


In Chinese it's 蜜蜂 mìfēng.
posted by Abiezer at 6:04 AM on September 29, 2007


In Polish it's 'pszczoła' pronounced 'pshtchowah'
In French it's 'abeille' pronounced 'ah-bay'
posted by barrakuda at 6:12 AM on September 29, 2007


In Japanese, 蜜蜂(mitsubachi).

Same characters as the Chinese but a different pronunciation.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:15 AM on September 29, 2007


Welsh is often under-reported, so I offer gwenynen.
posted by vers at 6:41 AM on September 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Deborah is bee in Hebrew. Here's a list of other insect-related names.
posted by belladonna at 6:47 AM on September 29, 2007


Swahili is nyuki
Punjabi is shahd di makkhi
posted by gadha at 6:48 AM on September 29, 2007


Abelha in Portuguese
Ape del Miele in Italian (you might not want to use that one!)
Abeja in Spanish
Honigbiene in German
posted by Andorinha at 7:25 AM on September 29, 2007


In Finnish: mehiläinen
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2007


French: abeille
posted by bru at 7:34 AM on September 29, 2007


nicolas léonard sadi carnot is only half right about the translation of honey bee in Latin: it's actually apis mellifera. The genus Apis is Latin for "bee", and mellifera is Greek from meli- "honey" + ferre "to carry" - hence the scientific name means "honey-carrying bee". This is technically wrong, since honey bees carry nectar and produce honey. However, the name was coined in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus who in a subsequent publication tried to correct it to Apis mellifica ("honey-making bee").

yes, it's nitpicky, but i studied apiculture, ok? :)
posted by carabiner at 7:41 AM on September 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


ps this is a cute idea, and i'm fond of the portuguese version (pronounced a-bale-ya).
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 7:53 AM on September 29, 2007


In Czech: Včela (the č is pronounced ch)
posted by czechmate at 8:00 AM on September 29, 2007


And since Amharic is not widely mentioned, I'll throw in a few translations. An added bonus for considering Amharic is that Ethiopia is known as "the land of bread and honey".

nebe is the word for bee. (pronounced nəbə)
mar is the word for honey.
posted by carabiner at 8:02 AM on September 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm inclined toward the Esparanto: Mielabelo
posted by phredgreen at 8:10 AM on September 29, 2007


In Danish it's honningbi. But I've yet to hear anybody not refer to a honeybee simply as a bi which means bee.
posted by sveskemus at 8:14 AM on September 29, 2007


The Internet says it's "Erlea" in Basque.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:22 AM on September 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


And "Zegii" in Mongolian, stress on second syllable (ze-GEE).
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2007


swedish : honungbi
posted by j at 8:42 AM on September 29, 2007


Cebuano: Buyog or Butyukan
Tagalog: Bubuyog
posted by nathan_teske at 9:23 AM on September 29, 2007


that's the scientific name, which is yes, from latin, but joe caesar would just say "apis".
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 9:25 AM on September 29, 2007


Farsi: "zamboor asal" is the full "honey bee" but we just say "Zamboor". Looks like this: زنبور عسل
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2007


Korean: 꿀벌: literally 'honey bee': it's pronounced ggool-buhl.
posted by suedehead at 10:05 AM on September 29, 2007


Apis mellifera is merely one species of honeybee, not honeybees in general. It's the Western honeybee, a.k.a. the European honeybee, which, while probably the type of honeybee that most of us are likely to be familiar with, is not the only type of honeybee.

The genus "Apis" is "honeybees" (not "bees"). The general "bees" is actually multiple levels up from genus; they are arranged in nine separate families within the superfamily Apoidea.
posted by Flunkie at 10:18 AM on September 29, 2007


Armenian: մեղվի - meghvi
posted by k8t at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2007


Behind the Name lists both Deborah and Erlea as meaning "bee". They're usually pretty accurate, but I would double-check them before actually naming the kid.
posted by lemuria at 10:28 AM on September 29, 2007


Russian: пчела (p'chel-AH)
posted by Krrrlson at 10:46 AM on September 29, 2007


(Needless to say, you should not name your child that.)
posted by Krrrlson at 10:53 AM on September 29, 2007


(Unless you give him/her a Klingon first name.)
posted by Krrrlson at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2007


Bee is "méh" in Hungarian, and honeybee is two words ("mézelő méh), but as others have noted, Melissa does not actually mean "honeybee."

In Romanian, it's "albină." They don't have a special word for honeybee that I know of.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:32 AM on September 29, 2007


Seillean - Gaelic (Scottish) for Honeybee.
posted by brautigan at 12:39 PM on September 29, 2007


Abeille in French is tha same as "bee" in English. Honeybee specifically is une abeille à miel. Less common is une avette or a little more poetically une mouche de miel.
posted by bonehead at 1:09 PM on September 29, 2007


In Latvian it's "medus bite," which is literally honey bee. The "bite" is pronounced like the German for please ("Bit- teh"). A dimunutive of bee is bitīte (pronounced "bit-tee-teh"), which is cute.
posted by buka at 1:36 PM on September 29, 2007


Call her ee-BAY!
posted by rob511 at 2:10 PM on September 29, 2007


If you look at the "in other languages" box on the wikipedia entry, you'll get quite a few.
posted by phrontist at 2:34 PM on September 29, 2007


In Dutch it is honingbij. But everybody just calls them bij (sort of pronounced bi), which means bee.
posted by davar at 3:35 PM on September 29, 2007


A more correct Swedish translation is: honungsbi. But that's not name material anyway so...
posted by mnsc at 3:54 PM on September 29, 2007


In Malay it's "lebah madu" though everyone says "lebah" because we don't know of any other "lebah"s that don't make "madu", so to speak.
posted by divabat at 3:55 PM on September 29, 2007


Armenian: մեղվի - meghvi

meghvi - Megan (Meggie)?
posted by mnsc at 3:56 PM on September 29, 2007


I believe in Klingon it's Sta Glok which means warrior in flight.
posted by keep it tight at 4:13 PM on September 29, 2007


Deseret but it's very Mormon.
posted by rossmik at 4:17 PM on September 29, 2007


It is laywan in Tagalog
posted by thewittyname at 5:41 PM on September 29, 2007


Thanks, guys. This is great stuff. Keep'em coming!
posted by mds35 at 5:54 PM on September 29, 2007


I have kasoya or soya for Ainu but I didn't record which dialect it was or any kind of honeybee/bee/wasp/etc. distinction. E-mail me if you like the sound and want me to look into it more.

I understand that hachaa is the Okinawan version of Japanese hachi, but that seems to be missing the "honey" part (mitsu, as can be seen in GordionKnott's answer), so it probably also means "wasp" or "hornet".
posted by No-sword at 6:17 PM on September 29, 2007


A friend from Fujian tells me they call them pang-ah (my half-arsed phonetic rendering) in their particular strand of Hokkien.
posted by Abiezer at 8:17 PM on September 29, 2007


Icelandic: Býfluga (pronounced, roughly: BEE-fluh-ga)
posted by Kattullus at 11:32 PM on September 29, 2007


I'm no linguist, but all of this Me/mi stuff is very interesting...
posted by k8t at 5:37 PM on September 30, 2007


In Hindi and Urdu :
It's called "Madhu Makkhi" or "Shahad ki Makkhi"

Shahad = Honey
Makkhi = Bee
posted by forwebsites at 2:36 AM on October 1, 2007


I like the idea of using the name Honey. Its unique and would have meaning related to mother Melissa. Spanish for Honey is Miel.
posted by Snoogylips at 12:44 AM on October 2, 2007


Here's what the internet told me:

Arabic: نَحْلة الخَلِيَّه (I may be wrong but looks to me like "naHla(t) alXhalyya")
Chinese (Simplified): 蜜蜂
Chinese (Traditional): 蜜蜂
Czech: včela
Danish: honningbi
Dutch: honingbij
Estonian: mesilane
Finnish: mehiläinen
French: abeille
German: die Honigbiene
Greek: μέλισσα
Hungarian: mézelő méh
Icelandic: hunangsfluga
Indonesian: lebah madu
Italian: ape
Japanese: みつ蜂
Korean: 꿀벌
Latvian: medus bite
Lithuanian: bitė darbininkė
Norwegian: honningbie
Polish: pszczoła miodonośna
Portuguese (Brazil): abelha
Portuguese (Portugal): abelha
Romanian: albină
Russian: пчела медоносная
Slovak: včela
Slovenian: čebela delavka
Spanish: abeja
Swedish: bi
Turkish: bal arısı
posted by miss lynnster at 8:56 PM on October 9, 2007


You guys are great. It we have a girl at some point, the Basque and Scots Gael are our choices.
posted by mds35 at 7:14 AM on October 12, 2007


So...it's a boy! Thanks anyway, everyone! Your answers were great.

His name is Noah Ansson, after his mother, whose middle name is Anne.

His brother's middle name is Tennyson, after his father, whose middle name is Dennis.
posted by mds35 at 6:52 AM on May 3, 2008


« Older Idiot light   |   They like paper, no plastic Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.