Why do we say "It's the bee's knees.

Well-Known Expressions

It's the bee's knees

Meaning:

It is the height of excellence

Background:

"The bee's knees" apparently came into use during the 1920s when the flappers compared almost anything they considered excellent to a part of an animal. It seems that American cartoonist Tad Dorgan is responsible for this particular expression; and also for "the cat's pajamas", and possibly for "hot dog". He also coined a number of other expressions that didn't stick such as "the canary's tusks" and "the flea's eyebrows". Other superlatives from the period include "the sardine's whiskers", "the eel's ankle" and "the clam's garter".

According to The Guardian, some believe that the "bee's knees" derives from a shortening of "the be all and the end all of everything" which was shortened to "the B's and E's" and thus to "bee's knees"; while another camp believe it derives from "it's the business".

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Radium Girls
    The Radium Girls
    by Kate Moore
    In 1915, Austrian-born Sabin von Sochocky developed a luminescent paint that used radium to create a...
  • Book Jacket: Long Black Veil
    Long Black Veil
    by Jennifer Finney Boylan
    "This was a long time ago, before my first death, and none of us now are the people we were then. ...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Weight of Ink
    by Rachel Kadish

    An intellectual, suspenseful, and entertaining page-turner.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.