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  • He made a beeline for the kitchen.
  • He went quickly straight to the kitchen.

Is there any difference between the sentences above (except for the awkwardness in wording)? From what I understood, make a beeline for implies going somewhere quickly and directly, so I made up the second bullet point sentence to see if I've nailed it.

Another set:

  • He made a beeline for the hot girl.
  • He quickly went up to the hot girl.
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  • In colloquial English, they're equivalent. "Beeline" might be considered slang by some, though it's commonly used. Dec 31, 2021 at 0:32
  • 1
    Awkardness aside, all are correct. Note that > He went quickly to the kitchen. and > He quickly went to the kitchen. are slightly different. In the first sentence he was in the house and noticed or remembered something in the kitchen that needed immediate attention. So he went quickly. "Quickly" modifies how he went. The second suggests that he went to the kitchen as soon as he entered the house. "Quickly" modifies when he went. Dec 31, 2021 at 1:35
  • @EthanBolker I've changed this to a comment because other than the first sentence, it doesn't answer the OP's question.
    – gotube
    Dec 31, 2021 at 6:09

1 Answer 1

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You've almost nailed it.

In your first set, you get it right. "to make a beeline for" means "to go straight to without hestitation".

To "make a beeline for" doesn't mean the same as "go quickly (up) to", so the two sentences about the "hot girl" don't mean the same thing. The first means "went quickly in a straight line", while the second just means "went quickly". The "straight" part is the more important aspect of the expression, "to make a beeline".

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  • It kinda baffles me since bees move in figure 8 but beeline means a straight line. So my mental image of making a beeline for something is always like someone wanders in figure 8 and it takes a while until that person gets to the place he wants to go to..
    – Ray
    Dec 31, 2021 at 14:34
  • FWIW, bees only move in a figure eight when they're "dancing" inside the hive, on their feet. They do not fly in a figure-eight.
    – gotube
    Jan 1 at 2:34
  • @Ray The reference is to bees flying directly back to their hives after finding nectar, supposedly taking the shortest route to do so.
    – IMSoP
    Jan 1 at 23:50

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