B.C., “Before Christ” in the Christian (and now generally Western) system for dating events, developed by the monk Dionysius Exiguus and based on the time he believed Christ to have been born.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Barley to Bellows, George Wesley
Béjart, Maurice (1927– ), French dancer and choreographer.
Bar mitzvah, Jewish religious ceremony marking a boy's entrance into the adult community, traditionally performed at the age of 13.
Barley, adaptable and hardy cereal plants (Hordeum vulgare and Hordeum distichon), of the grass family, cultivated since ancient times.
Barn owl, common white owl (Tyto alba) useful as a destroyer of rodents.
Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), common North American bird.
Barnacle, marine crustacea of the subclass Cirripedia.
Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis), bird that breeds in the Arctic and winters in northern Europe and occasionally North America.
Barnard, Christiaan Neethling (1922–), South African surgeon who performed the first successful human heart transplant in Dec. 1967.
Barnard, Edward Emerson (1857–1923), U.S. astronomer who discovered Amalthea, the fifth satellite of Jupiter (1892).
Barnard, Frederick Augustus Porter (1809–89), president of Columbia College (1864–89), which he helped transform into a great university; and advocate of higher education for women.
Barnard, Henry (1811–1900), U.S. educator.
Barnburners, radical, antislavery faction of the New York State Democratic Party in the 1840s.
Barnes, Djuna (1892–1982), U.S. poet, playwright, and novelist.
Barnhart, Clarence Lewis (1900–), U.S. lexicographer, editor of the American College Dictionary (1947), the New Century Cyclopedia of Names (1954), and The World Book Dictionary (1963).
Barnum, P(hineas) T(aylor) (1810–91), U.S. impresario, showman, and publicist.
Barometer, instrument for measuring air pressure, used in weather forecasting and for determining altitude.
Baron, title of nobility in Europe, indicating a powerful man, especially a business magnate.
Baroque, European style of art and architecture, and by extension, music, that flourished from the early 17th to the mid-18th century. The style in art emphasized dramatic lighting, emotional portrayal of subjects, and the illusion of depth. The direct simplicity, apparent realism, and revolutionary painting technique of the Italian artist Michelangelo Caravaggio (1573–1610) helped to sprea…
Barquisimeto (pop. 785,300), capital of Lara state in northwestern Venezuela, about 220 mi (354 km) southwest of Caracas, founded in 1552.
Barr, Alfred Hamilton, Jr. (1901–81), U.S. art historian.
Barracuda, predatory fish (family Sphyraenidae) found in warm seas.
Barras, Paul François Jean Nicolas, Vicomte de (1755–1829), French revolutionary.
Barrault, Jean-Louis (1910–94), French actor, director, producer, and mime.
Barrett, Elizabeth See: Browning, Elizabeth Barrett.
Barrie, Sir James Matthew (1860–1937), Scottish playwright and novelist best known for Peter Pan (1904), his play about a boy who will not grow up.
Barrier reef See: Coral; Great Barrier Reef.
Barrios, Justo Rufino (1835–85), president of Guatemala from 1873 until his death in 1885.
Barron, James (1769–1851), U.S.
Barrow, Point, northernmost point on the North American continent, at the tip of Point Barrow Peninsula on the Arctic coast of Alaska, named for Sir John Barrow, 19th-century British geographer.
Barry, John (1745–1803), Irish-born naval hero of the American Revolutionary War, often called “Father of the American Navy.” Commander of the frigate Lexington, he captured the first British warship taken in combat by a regularly commissioned American cruiser.
Barry, Philip (1896–1949), U.S. playwright, best known for popular drawing room comedies such as Holiday (1928) and The Philadelphia Story (1939).
Barrymore, name of a noted Anglo-American theatrical family.
Bartók, Béla (1881–1945), Hungarian composer, one of the major figures of 20th-century music, also a virtuoso concert pianist and teacher at the Budapest Academy of Music (1907–34).
Barter, exchange of goods or services instead of money.
Barth, John (1930–), U.S. novelist known for his ironic style and use of comic and elaborate allegory.
Barth, Karl (1886–1968), Swiss theologian, one of the most influential voices of 20th-century Protestantism.
Barthelme, Donald (1931–89), U.S. short-story writer and novelist noted for his innovative techniques and surrealistic style.
Barthes, Roland (1915–80), French philosopher, literary critic, and theorist of semiology.
Bartholdi, Frédéric Auguste (1834–1904), French sculptor, creator of the Statue of Liberty.
Bartholomew, Saint, one of the 12 apostles.
Bartlett, John (1820–1905), U.S. editor and publisher, best known for his Familiar Quotations, which has gone through more than a dozen editions since its first appearance in 1855.
Bartlett, Josiah (1729–95), U.S. politician, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Bartlett, Robert Abram (1875–1946), arctic explorer who commanded the Roosevelt for Robert E.
Barton, Clara (1821–1912), founder of the American Red Cross (1881) and its first president (until 1904).
Bartram, 2 American naturalists, father and son.
Baruch, Bernard Marines (1870–1965), U.S. financier and presidential economic adviser.
Barye, Antoine Louis (1796–1875), French painter and sculptor who specialized in animal statues.
Baryon, in particle physics, largest class of elemental particles, including protons, neutrons, and hyperons, also called “heavy particles” because of their relatively high mass.
Baryshnikov, Mikhail (1948–), Soviet-born U.S. dancer and choreographer.
Barytes See: Barium.
Bas mitzvah See: Bar mitzvah.
Bas relief See: Relief.
Basalt, dense rock formed by the solidification of lava.
Base, in chemistry, complement of an acid.
Baseball, outdoor team sport which derives its name from the 4 bases on the playing field. Called the “national pastime” in the United States, it is also popular in Japan, Latin America, and Canada. Invented, according to legend, by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1839, it appears rather to have evolved from the game of rounders which was played by New England colonists. Popu…
Basel (pop. 174,600), second largest city in Switzerland, capital of the half-canton of Basel Stadt.
Basenji, breed of dog, first bred in central Africa.
BASIC, Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, easy-to-use, algebraic programming language developed at Dartmouth College in 1967 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz.
Basie, Count (William Basie; 1904–84), U.S. jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader.
Basil, annual aromatic herb of the mint family, native to Asia, whose leaves are used in cooking and in the preparation of Chartreuse liqueur.
Basil the Great, Saint (c.330–379), one of the great Fathers of the Eastern Church, bishop of Caesarea, a founder of Greek monasticism and author of the Longer and Shorter Rules for monastic life.
Basilica, in its earliest usage, large public building of ancient Rome of characteristic rectangular layout, with a central area (nave) separated by rows of columns from 2 flanking side aisles with high windows.
Baskerville, John (1706–75), English printer and type designer, whose elegant Baskerville type was the ancestor and inspiration of the “modern” group of typefaces.
Basket Makers, prehistoric Native American culture flourishing in the Southwest more than 2,000 years ago.
Basket making, popular handicraft dating back to prehistoric times.
Basketball, popular indoor team sport in the United States, the object of which is to score points by propelling a leather ball through a basket (hoop and net). Two baskets, 18 in (46 cm) in diameter and 10 ft (3 m) from the floor, are fixed on two backboards situated at either end of a court, the maximum dimensions of which are 94 × 50 ft (29 × 15 m). Basketball is played between 2 …
Baskin, Leonard (1922– ), U.S. graphic artist and sculptor.
Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), one of the largest living sharks, reaching a length of 45 ft (14 m).
Basov, Nikolai Gennadievich (1922– ), Russian physicist who, with his colleague Alexander Prokhorov, stated the principles of using molecular energy to amplify radio waves.
Basques, people of unique language and culture living mainly in the vicinity of the Pyrennees Mountains (about 100,000 in southwestern France and 600,000 in northeastern Spain).
Basra (pop. 620,000), city and major port in Iraq, situated on the Shatt-al-Arab River, about 75 mi (120 km) from the Persian Gulf.
Bass, fish of the Serranidae and Centrarchidae families.
Bass, or double bass, largest instrument of the violin family.
Bass drum See: Drum.
Bass, Sam (1851–78), U.S. outlaw, the “Robin Hood” of Texas.
Bassae, site of one of the best-preserved temples of classical Greece, located near the ancient city of Phigalia in Arcadia.
Basse-Terre (pop. 14,300), capital city of the French department of Guadeloupe in the Antilles islands in the Caribbean.
Basset hound, short-legged, long, heavy-bodied, long-eared dog.
Bassoon, musical instrument, bass of the woodwind family, an 8-ft (2.4-m) conical tube bent double, with a double-reed mouthpiece, 8 holes, 20–22 keys, and a range of 3.5 octaves.
Basswood, or linden, tree (genus Tilia) of the linden family that grows to 120 ft (37 m) in height and 3.5 ft (107 cm) in diameter.
Bastille, fortress in Paris built c.1370, destroyed during the French Revolution.
Bastogne (pop. 12,500), small town on the Ardennes plateau in southeast Belgium.
Bat, nocturnal mammal, the only mammal capable of flight, a member of the order Chiroptera.
Bat mitzvah See: Bar mitzvah.
Bataan Peninsula, province of southwestern Luzon, the Philippines.
Bates, Katharine Lee (1859–1929), U.S. author, best known for writing the lyrics of “America the Beautiful.” She was a professor of English at Wellesley College and wrote children's literature.
Bateson, Gregory (1904–80), British-born U.S. anthropologist, best known for his study of New Guinea, Naven (1936; rev. 1958), and Ecology of Mind (1972).
Batfish, beautifully colored marine fish of the family Ogcocephalidae, found in the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Bath (pop. 84,200), city in southwest England, on the River Avon near Bristol.
Bath, Order of the, British honor, established by George I in 1725 (supposedly based on an order founded in 1399).
Baths and bathing, historically, primarily religious, social, or pleasurable functions more often than hygienic ones.
Bathsheba, in the Bible, wife of King David and mother of Solomon.
Bathyscaph, submersible deep-sea research vessel, invented by Auguste Piccard in the late 1940s, comprising a small, spherical, pressurized passenger cabin suspended beneath a cigar-shaped flotation hull.
Batik, dyeing technique in which the portions of material not to be colored are covered with wax before the fabric is dipped into dye.
Batista y Zaldívar, Fulgencio (1901–73), Cuban military dictator.
Baton Rouge (pop. 245,800), capital of Louisiana, situated on the Mississippi River.
Battenberg, name of princely family of Germany.
Battering ram, ancient war machine used to break down walls and doors.
Battery, device for converting internally stored chemical energy into direct-current electricity.
Battle of, Battles are listed under the key word, as in Antietam, Battle of.
Battle Creek (pop. 135,982), city in southern Michigan, famous as a health and sports center.
Battle Hymn of the Republic, U.S. patriotic song, unofficial hymn of Union troops in the Civil War.
Battleford (pop. 3,800), historic town in Saskatchewan, Canada, now a grain depot, manufacturing town, and site of the Battleford Historic Park and Fred Light Museum.
Battleship, historically the largest of conventionally armed warships.
Batu Khan (d. 1255 A.D.), Mongol conqueror of Russia, grandson of Genghis Khan.
Baud, in computer technology, one bit per second.
Baudelaire, Charles Pierre (1821–67), French poet and critic, forerunner of the Symbolists.
Baudot, Emile See: Telegraph.
Baudouin (1930–93), fifth king of the Belgians.
Bauhaus, school of design and architecture in the 20th century.
Baum, Lyman Frank (1856–1919), U.S. children's writer, author of 14 Oz books, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), a tale of a girl carried by a cyclone to a land of adventure.
Baumfree, Isabella See: Truth, Sojourner.
Bausch, name of U.S. family involved in the optical industry.
Bauxite, ore consisting of hydrated aluminum oxide, usually with iron oxide; the main source of aluminum.
Bavaria (German: Bayern), southwest state in Germany.
Bavarian Succession, War of the See: Succession wars.
Bay, inlet of water formed along the coastline of an ocean or lake.
Bay of Bengal, wide arm of the Indian Ocean between India and Ceylon on the west, and Burma on the east.
Bay of Biscay, section of the Atlantic Ocean adjoining northern Spain and part of the west coast of France.
Bay Colony See: Massachusetts.
Bay of Fundy, funnel-shaped inlet of the Atlantic Ocean between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada.
Bay of Pigs, English name for Bahia de Cochinos (southwestern Cuba), scene of an abortive invasion of Cuba on April 17, 1961.
Bay Psalm Book, The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre, first book printed in colonial America.
Bayard, family name of politicians, statesmen, and U.S. senators from Delaware.
Bayberry (Myricaceae), any of a family of trees and shrubs found in temperate and subtropical climates.
Baylor, Elgin (1934– ), U.S. basketball player and coach.
Bayonet, stabbing or thrusting weapon that may be fitted at the muzzle of a rifle without preventing normal firing.
Bayonne (pop. 65,000), city and port in New Jersey, about 7 mi (11 km) southwest of New York City.
Bayou, shallow, slow-moving creek or water channel running into a lake or a river.
Bayreuth (pop. 70,900), industrial city in northeastern Bavaria, Germany.
Bazooka, portable rocket launcher constructed from a smooth-bore steel tube 5 ft (1.5 m) long and open at both ends.
BBC See: British Broadcasting Corporation.
BCG, bacillus Calmette-Guérin, a vaccine used to immunize against tuberculosis.
Beach, Amy (1867–1944), U.S. composer.
Beach plum, wild shrub (Prunus maritima) of the rose family, found along the eastern coast of the United States from Virginia to Maine.
Beach, Sylvia (1887–1962), U.S. expatriate bookstore owner whose Paris shop, Shakespeare & Co., was the center of expatriate literary life in Paris during the interwar period.
Beacon, originally a warning sign or signal, for example, a fire kindled at a prominent point on the coast to warn of the approach of hostile fleets.
Beaconsfield, Earl of See: Disraeli, Benjamin.
Beaded lizard (Heloderma horridum), poisonous lizard found in Mexico, close relative of the Gila monster.
Beads, term derived from the Saxon word biddan, meaning to pray.
Beagle, small, short-legged hound originally bred for hunting hares.
Beagle, See: Darwin, Charles Robert.
Beaked whale, any of various medium-sized toothed whales whose snouts are narrow and pointed.
Bean, any plant of the pulse family (especially genus Phaseolus), also called legumes, cultivated for its edible seeds, immature pods, or shoots.
Bean beetle, insect (Epilachna varivestis) of the order of beetles (Coleoptera), and the ladybug family (Coccinellidae).
Bean curd See: Tofu.
Bean, Roy (1825?–1903), U.S. justice of the peace who called himself “the only law west of the Pecos.” After an early life that included arrest, jailbreak, and proprietorship of tent saloons, he settled in western Texas, where he built a combination store, saloon, and pool hall, and held court as justice and coroner.
Bear, large mammal (family Ursidae), usually omnivorous, characterized by heavy build, thick limbs, small tail, and small ears.
Bear Flag Republic, republic declared in 1846 by U.S. settlers in Sacramento Valley, Cal., who rejected Mexican rule.
Beard, Charles and Mary, U.S. authors and historians who coauthored seven books, the best-known being The Rise of American Civilization (2 vols, 1927) and its sequels.
Beard, Daniel Carter (1850–1941), painter, illustrator, and organizer of the Boy Scouts of America.
Bearded collie, breed of dog distinguished by a beardlike growth of hair around its mouth.
Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent (1872–98), English illustrator and author.
Beardtongue, any of a genus (Pentstemon) of tubular flowers containing five stamens.
Bearing, device to minimize friction and provide support and guidance for the moving parts of a machine.
Bears and bulls, popular terms for stock and commodity investors of opposing views of market prospects.
Beat generation, U.S. literary movement of the 1950s, exemplified by Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1956), the adventures of the original social dropout, Allen Ginsberg's long poem Howl, and work by such poets as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gregory Corso, and by novelist William S.
Beatitudes, in the New Testament, 8 blessings pronounced by Jesus as a prologue to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–10), in which he calls “blessed” those who are poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who seek after holiness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who suffer persecution for righteousness' sake.
Beatles, English rock music group that dominated popular music in the 1960s.
Beaton, Sir Cecil Walter Hardy (1904–80), English photographer and designer, known for his royal portraits, collections such as Cecil Beaton's Scrapbook (1937), and set and costume designs for shows and films such as My Fair Lady (stage, 1956; motion picture, 1964).
Beatrix (1938– ), queen of the Netherlands (1980– ), following the abdication of her mother, Juliana.
Beauchamp, Kathleen See: Mansfield, Katherine.
Beaufort scale, scale from 0 to 12 used to measure the force of wind.
Beauharnais, Joséphine de (1763–1814), first wife of Napoleon I and empress of France.
Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron (1732–99), French dramatist and variously an artist, litigant, and political agent.
Beaumont (pop. 361,226), city and major oil-refining center in east Texas, seat of Jefferson County.
Beaumont, Francis (1584–1616), English Jacobean playwright.
Beaumont, William (1785–1853), U.S. army physician noted for his research on the human digestive system.
Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant de (1818–93), Confederate general of the U.S.
Beauvoir, Simone de (1908–86), French writer and a leading exponent of Existentialism and the role of women in politics and intellectual life.
Beaver, large rodent (family Castoridae), weighing up to 100 lb (45 kg) or over, of northern lands.
Beaverbrook, William Maxwell Aitken, 1st Baron (1879–1964), Canadian-born British newspaper owner and Conservative cabinet minister under Winston Churchill.
Bebel, August (1840–1913), leading German socialist and cofounder of the Social Democratic Party (1869).
Bebop See: Jazz.
Becker, Boris (1967– ), German tennis player.
Becket, Saint Thomas à (1118?–70), martyr and archbishop of Canterbury.
Beckett, Samuel Barclay (1906–89), Irish dramatist and novelist, resident in France from 1937.
Beckwourth, James Pierson (1798–1867?), African-American pioneer, rancher, fur-trader, and Army scout, discoverer of Beckworth Pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains around 1850.
Becquerel, Antoine Henri (1852–1908), French physicist, discoverer of natural radioactivity in uranium (1896).
Bed sore, ulceration of the skin on the back of a person who is bedridden.
Bedbug, blood-sucking insect of the order Hemiptera (bugs), family Cimi-cidae.
Bede, Saint (673?–735), known as The Venerable Bede, Anglo-Saxon monk and scholar.
Bedford, Gunning, Jr. (1747–1812), U.S. lawyer, statesman, and signer of the Constitution.
Bedlington terrier, long-legged, fleecy-coated breed of terrier first bred in Bedlington, England, in the 19th century.
Bedloe's Island See: Liberty Island.
Bedouin, nomadic peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, especially the Syrian, Arabian, and Sahara deserts.
Bedstraw, any of a group of wild plants (genus Galium) found in damp woods and swamps.
Bee, any of about 20,000 species of flying insects of the superfamily Apoidae.
Bee-eater, any of various species of insect-eating birds (family Meropidae) living mainly in tropical Africa and Asia.
Bee fly, insect of the family Bombyliidae that closely resembles a bee but has only one pair of wings and no stinger.
Beebe, Charles William (1877–1962), U.S. naturalist best remembered for his record 3,028 ft (923 m) descent into the ocean off Bermuda in a bathysphere in 1934.
Beech, common name for a family (Fagaceae) of deciduous forest trees indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere.
Beecham, Sir Thomas (1879–1961), English conductor, founder of the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras.
Beecher, Catharine Esther (1800–78), U.S. educator and advocate of higher education for women.
Beecher, Henry Ward (1813–87), U.S. clergyman, orator, lecturer, author, and abolitionist.
Beecher, Lyman (1775–1863), U.S. clergyman and liberal theologian who helped found the American Bible Society (1816); father of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Beef, the flesh of mature cattle slaughtered for food.
Beefwood, pine-like tree (Casuarina equisetifolia) native to Australia and commonly found in warm climates around the world.
Beekeeping, practice of cultivating bees dating back over 7,000 years.
Beelzebub, in the Bible, one of the names for the devil.
Beer, alcoholic beverage known since ancient times, made by fermenting cereals.
Beerbohm, Sir Max (1872–1956), English critic, satirist, and caricaturist best known for his caustic but benign characterizations of eminent Victorian and Edwardian figures, his satirical novel about Oxford, Zuleika Dobson (1911), and his parody A Christmas Garland (1912).
Beers, Clifford Whittingham (1876–1943), founder of the U.S. mental health movement.
Beersheba (pop. 112,600), chief city of the Negev Desert in southern Israel, 45 mi (72 km) southwest of Jerusalem.
Beeswax, yellow secretion of the glands on the abdomen of worker bees, who use it to make honeycombs.
Beet (Beta vulgaris), biennial or annual root vegetable.
Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770–1827), German composer, recognized worldwide as one of history's greatest musicians.
Beetle, any of the more than 250,000 species of the insect order Coleoptera.
Beggar-tick, or stick-tight, flowering plant of genus Bidens of the composite family, named for the hairy, barbed seeds of its yellow flowers, which adhere to clothing or animal fur.
Beggarweed, tall (6 ft/1.8 m), fast-growing, flowering plant (Desmodium tortuosum), native to the West Indies and now found in many warm climates.
Begin, Menachem (1913–92), Israeli prime minister, 1977–83. Begin was active in the Zionist Movement's effort to create a Jewish state in the 1930s and 1940s. He was a member and leader (1944–48) of the Irgon Zvai Leumi, an organization that fought for the creation of Israel. He fought in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. He was elected to the Knesset (parliament) in 1948, …
Begonia, common name for a family (Begoniaceae) of perennial plants with about 900 species.
Behan, Brendan (1922–64), Irish playwright and author, noted for his vivid ribaldry and satire.
Behavior therapy, methods for changing undesirable habits through learning.
Behavioral sciences, sciences dealing with human behavior, individually or socially, as opposed to their physiological makeup.
Behaviorism, school of psychology that studies behavior exclusively in terms of objective observations of reactions to environmental stimuli.
Behn, Aphra (1640–89), dramatist, novelist, and poet, first professional female author in England.
Behrens, Peter (1868–1940), German architect who pioneered a mode of functional design suited to industrial technology.
Behrman, Samuel Nathaniel (1893–1973), U.S. dramatist noted for his comedies of manners, including Biography (1932) and No Time for Comedy (1939).
Beiderbecke, Bix (Leon Bismarck Beiderbecke; 1903–31), U.S. jazz musician.
Beijing (formerly Peking; pop. 7,000,000), capital of the People's Republic of China, lying within the Hebei province, but administered directly by the central government. It is the political, commercial, cultural, and communications center of the country, and embraces a massive industrial complex. The city's rectangular layout was the work of Kublai Khan in the 13th century, and its…
Beirut (pop. 700,000), capital city and chief port of the Republic of Lebanon, situated on the Mediterranean Sea.
Bekesy, Georg von (1899–1972), Hungarian-born U.S. scientist who was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize for medicine for research into the mechanism of the inner ear.
Belém (pop. 758,100), capital of the state of Pará in northern Brazil.
Belafonte, Harry (1927– ), U.S. singer and actor best known for his interpretations of West Indian calypso folksongs.
Belasco, David (1853–1931), U.S. playwright and theatrical producer; famous for mounting spectacular New York productions, with lavishly detailed sets, to promote newly discovered stars.
Belfast (pop. 300,000), seaport and capital of Northern Ireland, located at the mouth of the Lagan River, an inlet of the Irish Sea.
Belgian Congo See: Zaïre.
Belgium, kingdom of northwestern Europe, bordered to the west by France, to the east by Luxembourg and Germany, and to the north by the Netherlands. Belgium is one of Europe's most densely populated countries. The region called Flanders borders the North Sea and is mostly flat plain with sandy beaches; further inland, the country is intensively cultivated, and is drained by the Leie, Scheld…
Belgrade (pop. 1,087,900), capital and largest city of Yugoslavia, a port and industrial center at the junction of the Danube and Sava rivers.
Belisarius (c.505–565 A.D.), Byzantine general under Justinian I.
Belize (British Honduras until 1973), independent nation since 1981, on the subtropical Caribbean coast of Central America, bordered by Mexico on the north and Guatemala on the southwest. The country is densely forested. The population consists of Creoles (of mixed African and European origin), descendants of the Carib and Maya tribes, and a small minority of Europeans. Most people live on the coa…
Belize City (pop. 45,100), largest city and former capital of Belize, a country on the Caribbean coast.
Bell, metal instrument rung by a metal clapper inside.
Bell, Alexander Graham (1847–1922), Scottish-born U.S. scientist and educator who invented the telephone (1876), the wax-cylinder phonograph, and various aids for teaching the deaf.
Bell, John (1797–1869), “Tennessee Bell,” presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union Party (1860) who lost to Lincoln on the eve of the U.S.
Bella Coola, tribe of Native Americans in western Canada near the North Pacific coast.
Belladonna, or deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), poisonous herbaceous plant of the nightshade family whose dried leaves and roots produce a crude drug of the same name.
Bellamy, Edward (1850–98), U.S. author.
Bellarmine, Saint Robert Francis Romulus (1542–1621), theologian known for his opposition to Protestant Reformation doctrines.
Bellbird, common name for a number of bird species whose songs resemble ringing bells.
Belleau Wood, Battle of (June 6–25, 1918), part of the World War I second battle of the Marne in which a brigade of U.S.
Bellerophon, Greek mythological hero.
Bellflower, or bluebell, any of several species of annual, biennial, and perennial plants producing bell-shaped flowers, ranging from a few inches to more than 6 ft (1.8 m) tall, found in temperate and subtropical areas.
Bellini, family of Early Renaissance Venetian painters.
Bellini, Vincenzo (1801–35), Italian opera composer of the bel canto school.
Belloc, (Joseph Pierre) Hilaire (1870–1953), French-born English poet, essayist, and historian.
Bellow, Saul (1915– ), Canadian-born U.S. novelist noted for his narrative skill and his studies of Jewish-American life.
Bellows, George Wesley (1882–1925), U.S. painter and lithographer, early 20th century “realist” who remained aloof from modern European influences and was influential in reviving U.S. lithography.