B b


Bacon    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Cured meat from back and sides of pig.

Our definition:  Cured [preserved by one of several means to slow spoilage and prevent the growth of micro-organisms] flesh from the back or sides of a piglet.  Piglets go to slaughter when they are between three and six months old.  See here

Basset    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  (in full basset-hound) Short-legged hunting dog.

Our definition:  Basset Hounds are short-legged, short-haired, long-eared dogs with lots of loose skin which hangs in folds.  Their natural temperament is friendly, playful and outgoing.  They can also be very tolerant of children and other animals but are considered stubborn because they don’t respond to punishment training.  They do, on the other hand, respond well to food incentives!

Battery    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  2.  Series of cages etc for poultry or cattle

Our definition:  Row upon row of identical cages, that are piled high in factory units and crowded with egg-laying hens who don’t have enough room to lift one wing, let alone stretch, flap or preen.  Similarly, cows are kept confined on concrete floors in filthy crowded conditions throughout the winter and sometimes all year round.

Beagle    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Small hound used for hunting hares.

Our definition:  Small to medium-sized, short-haired, tri-colour dogs, beagles are usually sociable, mischievous and healthy.  They don’t like being left alone and will get along well with other dogs, cats and humans.

Bear²    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1.  Heavy thick-furred mammal  2.  Rough, surly person.

Our definition:  Bears are mammals of the Ursidae family and can be found in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.  They have large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws and short tails. With the exception of polar bears who are mostly carnivorous, and the giant pandas who eat bamboo, most bears eat a varied omnivorous diet.

Bearskin    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Guardsman’s tall furry cap.

Our definition:  A bearskin is a tall fur cap, usually worn as part of a ceremonial military uniform. Traditionally, the bearskin was the headgear of  grenadiers and it is still worn by grenadier and guards regiments in various armies.  The standard bearskin of the British Foot Guards is 18 inches tall, weighs 1.5 pounds and is made from the fur of Canadian black bears.  However, an officer’s bearskin is made from the fur of Canadian brown bears as female brown bears have thicker, fuller fur, and is dyed black.  An entire skin is used for each hat. The British Army purchase the hats, which are known as caps, from a British hat-maker which sources its pelts from an international auction. The hat-makers purchase between 50 and 100 black bear skins each year at a cost of about £650 each.  See wikipedia for more information about the history of and opposition to the use of real bearskins.

Beast    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1.  Animal, esp wild mammal.  2.  Brutal person  3.  colloquial disliked person.

Our definition:  This word seems to be generally derogatory to animals, being used as it is to insult humans or, conversely, compliment them.  There are many definitions and uses of the word, as well as those above, including “a cheap prostitute”; “an especially unattractive woman”; “any woman whatever, but especially a young attractive one”; “a crude or sexually aggressive male”; a person who is very good at something eg “He’s an absolute beast at football.”  The origin of the word, see here, “c.1200, from Old French beste “animal, wild beast,” figuratively “fool, idiot”(11 c., Modern French bête), from Vulgar Latin *besta, from Latin bestia “beast, wild animal,” of unknown origin. Used to translate Latin animal.  Replaced Old English deor (see deer ) as the generic word for “wild creature,” only to be ousted 16 c. by animal. Of persons felt to be animal-like in various senses from early 13c. Of the figure in the Christian apocalypse story from late 14 c.” 

Beater    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  3.  Person who rouses game at shoot.

Our definition:  Typically pheasants will lay low,  instinctively staying on the ground, under cover of plants where they are quite well camouflaged.  This makes it very difficult for the unfortunate blood sports enthusiast who wants to shoot them.  So they pay beaters to walk through the woods and beat the ground to scare the birds out into the open where they can be shot.

Beaver    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1.  Large amphibious broad-tailed rodent.  2.  Its fur  3.  Hat of this.

Our definition:  Beavers are primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodents.  The dome-like houses (lodges) that they build for themselves have an underwater entrance so predators who can’t swim won’t be able to get in.  Their lodges have two rooms – one to dry off in and one to live in.  Their vegetarian diet consists of aquatic plants, grasses and shrubs.  They usually mate for life and females are pretty much in charge!  Their engineering feats improve water quality, and provide food sources and shelter for other species as they fell trees and sometimes build dams to create ponds and wetlands  which is paradise to species like frogs, birds and fish. Go to  Friends of the Earth for many more interesting facts about beavers as well as information on the campaign to let a new family stay in Devon after they were somehow reintroduced centuries after being hunted to extinction in this country.

Bee    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Four-winged stinging insect, collecting nectar and pollen and producing honey and wax.

Our definition:  There are lots of different types of bee in the UK, around 250 species – 24 species of bumble bee, 225 species of solitary bee and just one species of honey bee.  Honey bees will live through the winter, eating and working all winter long, which of course requires a large store of food – hence the honey they’ve worked hard for all summer.  With Bumble bees however, the new queens, after mating, find somewhere to hibernate and the rest of the colony dies off.  While hibernating she does not need to eat so there are no honey stores.  In the spring when she has to work hard, she makes a small pot of honey for herself.    Solitary bees typically produce neither honey nor wax.  They are important pollinators as the females, who are all fertile, build their own nests and take care of their own young so pollen is gathered for provisioning the nest with food for their brood.  Bees gathering nectar (eg honey bees) may accomplish pollination, but bees who are deliberately gathering pollen (eg solitary orchard mason bees) are more efficient pollinators.  There are also 500 species of stingless bee

Beef    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1.  Meat of ox, bull or cow

Our definition:  The flesh of a very young ox, bull or cow, typically slaughtered when he or she is just one to two years old.  See here

Beer    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Alcoholic liquor made with fermented malt etc flavoured esp. with hops.

Our definition:  beer is typically made from barley malt, water, hops and yeast and so is often suitable for vegans and vegetarians.  However, some breweries such as British cask ale producers may use animal products in the filtering process.  Real ale undergoes a secondary fermentation while it is being stored in the cask.  Cask-conditioned ales need fining to clear the material, such as the yeast suspended within the liquid.  This is typically done by adding isinglass, which is derived from the swim bladders of fish, to gather up the yeast and make it sink to the bottom of the cask.  Click here for beer companies that do not use animal ingredients, additives or processing agents.

Bit    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  3. Mouthpiece of bridle.

Our definition:  A bit is a type of horse tack used in equestrian activities, usually made of metal or a synthetic material, and is placed in the mouth of a horse or other equid and assists a rider in communicating with him or her.  It rests on the bars of the mouth in an interdental region where there are no teeth. Bits are foreign objects —usually made of steel—that are strapped into horses’ mouths. It’s the rider’s responsibility to make this procedure as pleasant as possible for the horse. Comfort is always an important factor because a horse’s resistance to the bit is usually rooted in misunderstanding, fear or discomfort.  A bit that’s too small will pinch the horse’s lips, and a bit that’s too big will slide in his mouth. If ported or jointed, an oversized bit can cause pain or even damage to the roof of the horse’s mouth, and it can pinch one or both corners of his lips as it slides. It can also apply uneven pressure and, therefore, lead to ineffective aids. (Aids are the communication cues given to the horse by the rider).

Brisket    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Animal’s breast, esp as joint of meat.

Our definition:  Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef primal cuts, though the precise definition of the cut differs internationally. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize the connective tissue.  The cut overlies the sternum, ribs and connecting costal cartilages.

Budgerigar (also Budgie)    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Small parrot often kept as pet.

Our definition:  Wild budgerigars are from Australia and are nomadic birds, moving from place to place in search of water and food. They are able to fly hundreds of miles in search of water. These hardy birds endure a climate that can be very hot and dry and also cold as well as rainy depending on the season. Budgies live in flocks and when conditions are favourable, they sometimes group together to form a huge flock containing thousands of budgies.  Wild budgerigars feed primarily on grass seeds, eucalyptus leaves and various other seeds and greens. Breeding usually occurs during rainy seasons when water is plentiful.  Like other parrots, budgies build their nests in holes found in trees. They will chew at the tree cavity until they have the shape and size that they need. The female budgie will lay an egg every 2 days until she has 4 to 8 eggs. While the mother budgie is busy keeping the eggs warm, it is the father’s job to feed the mother and protect the nest. Incubation lasts about 18-21 days before the eggs will hatch.  Baby budgerigars usually fledge or leave the nest on the fourth or fifth week after they hatch. Both the mother and father take turns feeding the babies.  Sadly many budgies are kept in captivity but, in situations where a bird cannot be safely returned to the wild, the next best thing is to keep them happy at home, especially making sure they have plenty of room and are not alone.  Birdline UK is a wonderful parrot rescue organisation, run by volunteers, who rescue and rehome budgies and other domesticated birds.

Butter    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Yellow fatty substance made from cream, used as spread and in cooking.

Our definition:  Butter is a dairy product made by churning fresh or fermented cows’ milk or cream, to separate the buttermilk from the butterfat.  Butter is one of the most highly concentrated forms of fluid cows’ milk. Twenty litres of whole cows’ milk are needed to produce one kilogram of butter.

10 thoughts on “B b

  1. I’m a vegetarian, not quite made it to vegan-status yet, but I love to see all animals; on-the-hoof
    Travel safe on your path. Thank you for stopping by 🙂


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