Posted by ESC on January 09, 2001
In Reply to: The bees knees posted by James O' Mahoney on January 09, 2001
: I heard that this had no anatomical connection but instead originated from the phrase "The be all and end all" shortened to "the Bs and Es" and with a slippery tongue "the bees knees".
All I know is that it was one in a series: BEE'S KNEES --"For 'great' (in the 20s) we have: the cat's pajamas, remarkable, first used around 1920, when pajamas were still somewhat shockingly new...similar expressions...the duck's quack, 1920; the bee's knees, the clam's garters, the elephant's wrist, the eel's ankles, the gnat's elbow, all 1923 the elephant's arches and the sardine's whiskers, both 1924; the bullfrog's beard, the cuckoo's chin, the leopard's stripes, the pig's wings, the snake's hips, and the tiger's spots, all 1925." From "Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past"" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).