Have you ever heard the expression “bee’s knees”? The first time I heard it, I thought it was just about the cutest phrase ever. But I’ve always wondered where it came from.
Turns out, “Bee’s Knees” didn’t always express affection or admiration. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, it started out as a way to describe something small or insignificant. Hence the reference to a teeny tiny part of a teeny tiny insect. However, in the 1920s a whole collection of American slang expressions came to life to refer to someone or something outstanding. These included: the flea’s eyebrows, the canary’s tusks, and the cat’s whiskers. It is thought that the bee’s knees acquired its new meaning at this time because of its similar structure and pattern.
Now you know!