Etymology
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Bessarabia 

old name for the region of Eastern Europe that now mostly is the nation of Moldova, probably from Besarab, a dynastic name of Wallachian princes, said to be from Turkish basar. Related: Bessarabian.

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Bengal 

region in South Asia, named for its people, said to be from Banga, name of a founding chief. It is attested in Europe as far back as Marco Polo (1298), who wrote of Bangala. Related: Bengali; Bengalese.

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Bow bells (n.)

to be "born within the sound of Bow Bells" is the traditional (since early 17c.) definition of a Cockney; the reference is to the bells of the church of St. Mary-le-Bow in London's Cheapside district. A church or chapel probably stood there in Anglo-Saxon times, and was rebuilt many times; the bells were noted for their sound from 16c., and a great tenor bell hung there from 1762 to 1941, when the church was most recently destroyed, in a German air raid. The church is so called for the arches which were a notable feature in the medieval building from 12c., hence it is from bow (n.1).

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Beelzebub 

Old English Belzebub, Philistine god worshipped at Ekron (II Kings i.2), from Latin, used in Vulgate for New Testament Greek beelzeboub, from Hebrew ba'al-z'bub "lord of the flies," from ba'al "lord" (see Baal) + z'bhubh "fly."

The deity is said to have been worshipped as having the power to drive away troublesome flies. By later Christian writers it was often taken as another name for "Satan," though Milton made him one of the fallen angels.

Baal being originally a title, it was applied by the Hebrews to neighboring divinities based on their attributes; other examples include Baal-berith "the covenant lord," god of the Shechemites; Baal-peor "lord of the opening," a god of Moab and Midian.

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Benzedrine (n.)

trade name of a type of amphetamine, 1933, registered as a proprietary name 1935 by Smith, Kline & French Laboratories, from benzoic (see benzene) + chemical suffix -edrine from ephedrine, etc. It is a carbonate of benzyl-methyl-carbinamine. Slang shortening benny is attested by 1955.

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Berkshire 

Old English Bearrocscir (893), from an ancient Celtic name meaning "hilly place" + Old English scir "shire, district."

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Betamax (n.)

1975, proprietary name (Sony), from Japanese beta-beta "all over" + max, from English maximum.

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Beulah 

fem. proper name, from Hebrew be'ulah "married woman," fem. past participle of ba'al "he married" (see baal).

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Smokey Bear (n.)

"state policeman," 1974, from truckers' slang, in reference to the wide-brim style of hat worn by state troopers (the hats so called by 1969). Ultimately the reference is to a popular illustrated character of that name, dressed in forest ranger gear (including a hat like those later worn by state troopers). He was introduced in 1944 by the U.S. Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council in a campaign to lower the number of forest fires in the West.

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Bella 

fem. proper name, from Italian bella "fair," from Latin bella, fem. of bellus "beautiful, fair" (see belle). In some cases short for Isabella (see Isabel).

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