Friday, December 11, 2009

The bee's knees

"Shiny, you're the bee's knees."

I was informed of this at approximately 2am this morning, as we lay in the dark. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. Okay, honestly, who's not a sucker for compliments? It led, however, to an in-depth discussion on what a bee's knees really look like (remember, it was early hours, sleepy conversation). We discussed, we giggled, we concluded: very tiny, furry, yellow-and-black-striped, and smelling of honey.

I had to googleit, though, to see where on earth the phrase came from and, would you believe, nobody really knows? Some say it's a corruption of 'business', others a shortening of 'be-all and end-all' (which makes little sense to me), but mostly, it seems, it was just a phrase that originated in the 1920's, meaning 'the height of excellence'. They developed quite a few other phrases around that time, including pearls like 'the eel's ankle' and 'the elephant's instep'... heaven knows what they meant, and, obviously, they didn't stick.

I think, however, that I may throw them into conversation this weekend, just for the fun of it, the question is, though, where on earth do you fit 'the eel's ankle' into everyday conversation?

4 comments:

Mud in the City said...

That's the sort of compliment to keep you warm and grinning all day. Lovely.

Shiny said...

It's true. I might just be the luckiest girl in the world xx

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