Definition: The technical term for bee-keeping.
Origin: Derives from the latin apis, meaning bee. Adopted into the English language in the 17th century.
Why this word?
Bee-keeping is a very functional word. It does exactly what it says on the tin. For me, however, the interest in the word comes from the root of its technical term, apiculture. Interestingly, apis has no relatives in any other language on the Indo-European family tree. It is something of an enigma. ‘Avian’ is an adjective of latin genesis meaning ‘related to birds’ – think of an aviary (bird house), for example. One would be forgiven for thinking that avis and apis must come from the same background – but whereas avis is well rooted in other Indo-European languages, including Greek and Sanscrit, it seems that apis stands as a linguistic monadnock of sorts. Whatever the genesis of apis, it seems that it had nothing to do with the apis and the avis …
How and when to use this word in a sentence:
If you are a bee-keeper, or an apiarist, you pretty much have the right to use apiculture as much or as little as you want. If you are not, however, it becomes more difficult. For example:
Me “Hello – my name is Seán”.
Dan “Hello Seán – I’m Dan. I’m a bee-keeper”.
Me “Bee-keeper? Surley the title to which you refer is apiculture enthusiast? Or did you not know that?”
Dan “I’m thinking of a particular title for you. Can you guess what it is?”