Original Webster's 1913 text:
- The shortest line from one place to another, like that of a bee to its hive when loaded with honey; an air line.
- A bee line for the brig. - Kane
--Stranger 00:28, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I love the etymology section on this article.
19 April 2014
The word "beeline" is very similar to the German "(sich) beeilen" - to hurry oneself. The American word "beeline" seems to have entered American usage after 1830, at the time when immigration to the US from Germany was increasing. It does not seem to be a word used in the British Isles before 1830.
"Er beeilt sich" (he hurries himself) could easily be corrupted to he's beelining himself. More particularly the present participle of "beeilen" (to hurry), is "beeilend" (hurrying).
The usual attribution, the folk lore that bees always fly directly back to the hive, does not seem to be something beekeepers have observed.