The Bees Knees

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Patsy Faye, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Over here if we like something, we say 'that's the bees knees'
    Now, I wonder why ....... I've never looked closely at a bee, nor do I want to
    but I can't imagine their knees are lovely at all :rolleyes:
    Any other sayings that have 'you' perplexed ...........?
     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    it's an American saying @Patsy Faye

    The Oxford English Dictionary records the expression "bee's knee" as meaning something small or insignificant from 1797.

    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" (pajamas were still new enough to be daring), and similar phrases that didn't endure: "the eel's ankle", "the elephant's instep", "the snake's hip" and "the capybara's spats".

    The phrase's actual origin has not been determined, but several theories include "b's and e's" (short for "be-alls and end-alls") and a corruption of "business" ("It's the beezness.")
     
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  3. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Ah yes - the cat's whiskers, very popular in the 60s and I get it, those whiskers are very adept
    But, the bees knees ........... don't get that one :p
     
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  4. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I can totally see the phrase “bee’s knees” being a corrupted form of someone saying “business”, @Holly Saunders . We had a widespread influx of immigrants here around the turn of that century, many of them learning to speak English, and not pronouncing some words very well.
    I also remember my folks calling something “the cat’s pajamas”, and asking my mom about that because (even at that early age) I knew that cats did NOT wear pajamas.
    It is interesting where some of these old expressions come from.
     
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  5. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Oh yes I still say, that's the business :p
    Some cool cats 'look like' they're wearing Pajamas by their markings :cool:
     
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  6. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Except we spell it Pyjamas lol..... :D
     
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  7. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    ha ha - I thought it looked odd or should I say - different :p
     
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