And Now, Class, We’re Going To Learn About The “Bee’s Knees”

[Occasionally when I’m researching Serious Subjects For Important Projects, I stumble across Fascinating Other Things To Know.  The following, my gentle readers, is a non-serious thing that I have learned & will now share with you.]

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{ Source: The Bee’s Knees Cocktail }

SO LET’S SAY THAT I’m a flapper, which isn’t that big of a stretch because if this was the 1920s you know that I’d be one.

Free spirit.  Flapper.  Very similar.

And let’s say that I wanted to tell you that someone or something was OUTSTANDING – ADMIRABLE  –  COOL.  Then there’s a good chance that I’d say that he or she or it was the BEE’S KNEES.

Unless, of course, I was using other slang from that era.  In which case I’d probably say that he or she or it was the:

  • cat’s meow,
  • monkey’s eyebrows,
  • skeeter’s elbow,
  • cat’s pajamas, OR
  • eel’s ankles.

HOWEVER BEING THAT I AM Thoroughly Modern Ally I think that I’d go with bee’s knees because it sounds cute to say and because there’s an actual logic behind the saying.

You know how I am about lurving the logic.

So to wit, and in conclusion of, what has turned out to be a rather lengthy post about an antiquated, but memorable, slang phrase, I give you this bit of information [from an unexpected source]:

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.”

~ San Diego Bee’s Knees Business Guide

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

27 thoughts on “And Now, Class, We’re Going To Learn About The “Bee’s Knees””

  1. Now isn’t that an interesting fact? I love all the old sayings. My daughter used to give me a hard time about “heyday”. Like “Boy, those birds are sure having a heyday!” I’ve never heard of monkey’s eyebrows, eel’s ankles or skeeter’s elbows. A friend of mine here used the phrase, “That just frosted my gizzard!” when she was angry about something. I thought that was so funny, and have tried to use it when I can. Fun!

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    1. Beth, I stumbled over all this slang info and became fascinated by it. I’m trying to remember to say “skeeter’s elbows” when applicable. I’ve never heard “That just frosted my gizzard!” but I love it. I’m going add it to my list of goofy phrases to say when duly provoked by stupid circumstances. 😉

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  2. This post is just the berries. And that’s not applesauce!

    (Note: another site describes the word applesauce as meaning “flattery, nonsense, i.e.. “Aw, applesauce!” I am using this meaning.)

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  3. Very cute. I think my Grandma sometimes says ‘bees knees’, though she’s too young to be a flapper. But she was born in 1923, so maybe it stuck around for awhile. I like the idea of something frosting someone’s gizzard, because it makes absolutely no sense at all. My friend sometimes says “That really frosts my cake”, but at least that makes sense. 🙂

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    1. J, interesting about your Grandma. Slang from her childhood, I suppose. Now that you mention it I’ve heard ppl say “That really frosts my cake” but not in a long time. Of course, now that I know the gizzard saying I need to start using it. 🙂

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  4. An eel has ankles?! So sick as my teens would say.. and I am sure that this is already past tense and they are onto something new. I learned something new today.. or should I say “old”?

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    1. lovetotrav, I know little about eel anatomy, but I suspect that this slang phrase and reality are far apart. However, ’tis possible that eel’s have ankles. Happy to have shared my newfound knowledge about old-time slang with you. Kind of trippy, huh?

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  5. Now that’s sweet information. Colorful slang is interesting. And this is a really useful suggestion: “list of goofy phrases to say when duly provoked by stupid circumstances.”
    Gizzards. (Oh, that’s such a funny word. Show stopper…or is that gobstopper?)

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    1. Margaret, that one about eels is so odd that it makes me think of Dr. Suess! Of course, now that I think about it, skeeter’s elbows isn’t the most logic thing to say either. Fun stuff to know… and use in everyday conversation?

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    1. evilsquirrel13, oh that’s a good one! You’ve created something new that nails the feeling of the 1920s. It’s truly the cat’s meow. Now you’ve got to work “the possum’s gallbladder” that into one of your cartoons. 😉

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  6. This is such fun knowledge. Thanks for sharing. You are truly the bee’s knees. I remember hearing the cat’s pajamas as a kid and wondering what the devil that meant. 😉

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    1. Kourtney, I remember hearing the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow, but the other ones were new to me. I like the skeeter’s elbows, however I haven’t found a way to casually slip it into polite conversation. Yet.

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  7. How interesting! I’ve always loved that expression. I’ve never heard of the monkey’s eyebrows, the skeeter’s elbow, or the eel’s ankles!

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    1. Letizia, I know! Most of those slang phrases were new to me, but now that I know them I want to say them. Only problem is other people might think I’ve gone off my nut… more than usual, that is. 😉

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      1. On the other hand, if we start using them everyday perhaps we can bring them back in vogue! I went to a 1920s dance last summer and could have used a lot of them I think (correct period, no?). I wish I had known… sigh.

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