The bees knees – fact or fiction? Expand We’ve all heard the popular expression ‘Its the bees knees’, meaning something which is the best or has everything one could wish for. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase originated in the late eighteenth century meaning something very small. However, its current meaning is believed to stem from American slang in the same way as “the cat’s whiskers”. Although bees have legs with joints like any insect, they do not have a knee cap and, apart from the articulated nature of the joint, they do not technically possess knees.