Word Geek – the bee’s knees

The phrase ‘the bee’s knees’ is one used to describe something excellent and of the highest quality.

For example:

“Have you seen Sandra’s new hat?”

“Oh yes, it’s the bee’s knees!”

The phrase is said to have originally meant ‘something small and meaningless’ in the 18th century, quite the opposite of its meaning today.

Despite its British origins, the phrase as we know it today was popularised in America, during the 1920s, along with phrases such as ‘the snake’s hips’, ‘the monkey’s eyebrows’ and ‘the cat’s pyjamas’ which all disappeared from popular use apart from the latter.

One of the earliest printed references appeared in The Ohio newspaper The Newark Advocate, in April 1922, including the phrase ‘the bee’s knees’ as one of the newly coined phrases used by flappers at the time. It seems the dancers had their own language developing and this phrase was part of the ‘flapper dictionary’ at the time.

Here at The Language Factory, we’d never be so bold as to refer to ourselves as the bee’s knees! However, we do regard our translations and customer service as being of the highest quality, so if our clients say it about us, we’ll accept it as a compliment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our services, you can drop us an email at enquiries@thelanguagefactory.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1727 862722.


"Thanks very much again for accommodating our last minute request - given the crunch timeline. We appreciate the detailed & thorough checking which was very helpful to meet our timeline to launch fieldwork on time."


Senior Research Executive Market Research Agency

Get in touch

Get in touch with a member of our friendly team on +44 1727 862722 to find out more about our services or leave your project details below to request a quote.

Get a quote

We will help save you time by using our online quote form. We can provide you with a quick quote via email after you fill in a few short details about your project. To find the best cost for your translation, fill in the quick form below.

Job details

Upload a file:

captcha Input this code below

The data you enter in this form will be used to provide you with information you have requested about our services. We will not send you marketing communications unless you consent to it and we will never pass your details on to any third parties. Agree

Related Articles