From Middle English hony combe, from Old English huniġcamb; equivalent to honey + comb. The Oxford English Dictionary (s.v. "honeycomb") suggests that the arrangement of plates of wax (with honey) "hanging parallel to each other from the roof of the hive suggests a comb with its teeth".
honeycomb (plural honeycombs)
- A structure of hexagonal cells made by bees primarily of wax, to hold their larvae and for storing the honey to feed the larvae and to feed themselves during winter.
- 1831, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality, volume 3, page 9:
- There was chocolate, new milk, honeycomb with its liquid amber droppings fragrant of a thousand flowers, a small loaf, and a little basket of green figs.
- (by extension) Any structure resembling a honeycomb.
- The wood porch was a honeycomb of termite tunnels before we replaced it.
- (construction) Voids left in concrete resulting from failure of the mortar to effectively fill the spaces among coarse aggregate particles.
- (aviation) Manufactured material used to manufacture light, stiff structural components using a sandwich design.
- (solar cell) The texture of the surface of a solar cell, intended to increase its surface area and capture more sunlight.
- (geometry) A space-filling packing of polytopes in 3- or higher-dimensional space.
- To riddle something with holes, especially in such a pattern.
- Termites will honeycomb a porch made of untreated pine.