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sweet, viscid fluid produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. The nectar is taken from the flower by the worker bee and is carried in the honey sac back to the hive. It is transformed into honey by enzymes produced in the honey sac, which convert the natural sucrose (a complex sugar) in the nectar into fructose and glucose (simple sugars). The sugary fluid is stored in open cells, which are capped with wax when the material has reached the consistency of honey. The formation of honey is accomplished by the evaporation of the excess water in air circulated by the moving wings of workers. The honey required for an average colony to maintain itself through a year has been estimated as being between 400 and 500 lb (180–225 kg). The excess of the hive's requirement is used by humans for food. Honey is marketed either in the comb or with the comb removed by straining, by centrifugal force, or by gravity. The flavor and color of honey depend upon the kind of flower from which the nectar was taken, e.g., linden honey, lavender honey, and wild rose honey. Much of that produced in the United States is the pale, delicately flavored alfalfa and clover honey. Among the numerous other blossoms yielding nectar are those of the basswood, buckwheat, orange, palmetto, sage, and tupelo. The leading producers of honey are China, Turkey, Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia. From earliest times until cane sugar became commercially important, honey was a major sweetening agent. Honey is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. It contains about 70% to 80% sugar; the rest is water, minerals and traces of protein, acids, and other substances.


See U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Science and Education Administration, Beekeeping in the United States (rev. ed. 1980).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a sweet syrupy substance elaborated for food by worker bees, primarily from the nectar of flowers; a valuable human food product.

According to the natural source, a distinction is made between floral honey (from nectar) and honeydew honey (from sweet secretions on the leaves and stems of plants). The floral honeys include those obtained from linden, buckwheat, clover, sun-flower, willow herb, and other plants. The chemical composition of honey depends on the species of plant from which it is derived, climatic conditions, and the method of commercial processing. Floral honey is 13-20 percent water, over 80 percent carbohydrates (principally glucose and fructose; also sucrose, maltose, and others), 0.4 percent proteins, and 0.3 percent ash. Honey contains organic acids (malic, citric, gluconic), enzymes (amylase, catalase, invertase), aromatic and mineral substances (K, Na, Ca), small amounts of vitamins (B2, PP, C, B6, H, K, and E), alkaloids, and pigments.

Nectar that is freshly deposited in the cells of a honeycomb has a fluid consistency. As the water is evaporated, the nectar ripens, thickens, and becomes viscous. The enzyme invertase converts the sucrose in the nectar into glucose and fructose. After the honey ripens, the bees seal up the honeycombs with wax caps. The honey extracted from the honeycombs gradually crystallizes upon storage. First the surface crystallizes, and then the crystals gradually form toward the bottom. There are white (from willow herb), yellow (from white acacia, sainfoin, linden, sunflower), and dark brown (from buckwheat, heather) honeys. Most honeys are sweet, but some are stringent; the aroma and taste depend on the honey’s origin. The aggregate of flavor and aroma is called the bouquet of the honey. The viscosity of honey varies: acacia honey is fluid, and honeydew honey is sticky. Honeydew honey (and floral honey mixed with a considerable amount of honeydew) is harmful to bees.

Commercial honey is obtained from the combs by centrifugation in an extractor and sometimes by pressing. Honey is rarely sold in the honeycomb. Sometimes different varieties of honey are mixed to normalize the thickness and to obtain the desired aroma, color, and flavor. Barrels made of linden, beech, plane, willow, cedar, and alder serve as containers for honey. Honey turns dark from oak barrels and acquires a tarry odor from barrels of coniferous varieties. Honey is stored on premises that are free of other odors. Honey is valuable as a dietary and therapeutic agent (for example, to treat emaciation). It is also used in the food industry.


Kablukov, I. A. O mede, voske, pchelinom klee i ikh podmesiakh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1941.
Temnov, V. A. Tekhnologiia produktov pchelovodstva. Moscow, 1967.
Mladenov, S. Med i medolechenie. Sofia, 1969. (Translated from Bulgarian.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about honey?

The sweet taste of honey is like the sweet taste of success. As a symbol, honey also means too much sweetness (“dripping like honey”). A dreamer who experiences this symbol might need to be less vulnerable and more honest in communicating with others.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


(food engineering)
The sweet, viscous secretion composed principally of levulose and dextrose that is deposited in the honeycomb by the honeybee.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


any similar sweet substance, esp the nectar of flowers
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Sweet experiences and good health are in your subconscious and most likely in your life.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
The first instinct of a frightened bee is to break into the stores and gorge herself with honey; but there were no stores left, so the Oddities fought the sound bees.
So he flew down into the field below, and hastened busily from flower to flower, till he had filled a tiny blue-bell with sweet, fresh honey. Then he stole softly to the hive, and, placing it near the door, concealed himself to watch.
But the bees never saw him, for he feared he had not yet done enough to win their forgiveness and friendship; so he lived alone among the vines, daily bringing them honey, and doing some kindly action.
Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate.
As a whole, honey farming has gained popularity in the region as many people attained success through commercial honey harvesting.
A large number of trade fairs and exhibitions of honey take place in the country, many options are presented in stores and bazars,however finding natural honey is not such an easy task.
PESHAWAR: Peshawar's Tarnab Farm is home to Pakistan's biggest honey market, which exports about 4,000 tons of the commodity worth nearly Rs 2.8 billion ($0.023 billion) to Arab countries every year.
By acquiring this accreditation, the Institute could become the focal point and open up prospects for a significant export of Bosnia and Herzegovina's honey to the international market.
Honey starts as flower nectar collected by bees, and is stored as simple sugars inside the honeycomb.
The first thing we talked about was if we really wanted to be in the honey business.
He said that for honey trade bees keeping has been now converted into an industry and millions of people are directly or indirectly attached with this trade.
Muscat: Oman produced more than 600 tonnes of honey in 2016, earning the country OMR15.200 million, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.