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The Bee`s Knees- {origin}

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The Bee`s Knees- {origin}

Post  mermaid on Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:06 pm

http://www.sandiegobeesknees.com/the_bees_knees.htm

A bee's "corbiculae", or pollen-baskets, are located on its tibiae (midsegments of its legs - knees).
The phrase "the bee's knees," meaning "the height of excellence," became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s, along with "the cat's whiskers" (possibly from the use of these in radio crystal sets), "the cat's pajamas" (pyjamas were still new enough to be daring), and similar phrases which made less sense and didn't endure: "the eel's ankle," "the elephant's instep," "the snake's hip."

Stories in circulation about the origin of
"The Bee's Knees" phrase include: "b's and e's," short for "be-alls and end-alls;" and a variation/revision of the term "business."



Meaning of "The Bee's Knees"
The Bee's Knees" is a term indicating excellence - the highest quality.
Because bees carry pollen back to the hive in sacs on their legs. The allusion is to the concentrated goodness to be found around the bee's knee.
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Re: The Bee`s Knees- {origin}

Post  Betep on Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:05 pm

From the UK: Bee's Knees
Meaning ; Excellent - the highest quality.
Origin

It's difficult to know if we need an etymologist or an entomologist for this one.

Bees carry pollen back to the hive in sacs on their legs. It is tempting to explain this phrase as alluding to the concentrated goodness to be found around a bee's knee, but there's no evidence to support this explanation. It is also sometimes said to be a corruption of 'business', but there's no evidence to support that either.

Nor is there any connection with another earlier phrase, 'a bee's knee'. In the 18th century this was used as a synonym for smallness, but has since disappeared from the language, replaced more recently by the less polite 'gnat's bollock':

There's no profound reason to relate bees and knees other than the jaunty-sounding rhyme. In the 1920s it was fashionable to use nonsense terms to denote excellence - 'the snake's hips', 'the kipper's knickers', 'the cat's pyjamas/whiskers', 'the monkey's eyebrows' and so on. Of these, the bee's knees and the cat's whiskers are the only ones to have stood the test of time. More recently, we see the same thing - the 'dog's bollocks'.

The nonsense expression 'the bee's knees' was taken up by the socialites of Roaring 20s America and added to the list of 'excellent' phrases. A printed reference in that context appears in the Ohio newspaper The Newark Advocate, April 1922, in a piece on newly coined phrases entitles 'What Does It Mean?':

"That's what you wonder when you hear a flapper chatter in typical flapper language. 'Apple Knocker,' for instance. And 'Bees Knees.' That's flapper talk. This lingo will be explained in the woman's page under the head of Flapper Dictionary." [an 'apple knocker' is a rustic]
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-bees-knees.html

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