bee


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

put the bee on (someone)

To ask or pressure someone for a loan or donation of money. Primarily heard in US. Jane's good-for-nothing brother always comes around our place every couple of weeks to put the bee on us for a few bucks. The alumni association of my old university puts the bee on me once or twice a year looking for a donation.
See also: bee, on, put

queen bee

A woman who has authority or is in a dominant or favored position over her peers. An allusion to the (typically) lone egg-laying female of a bee colony. Martha fancies herself a queen bee after her promotion, but she's only an assistant supervisor. You'll have to ask the queen bee before you put through any more orders on the company card.
See also: bee, queen

be (as) busy as a bee

To be very busy. I'm currently choreographing three plays, so I'm as busy as a bee. Can we meet next week instead? I'm busy as a bee right now.
See also: bee, busy

a bee in (one's) bonnet

An obsession, often with something that is strange or a source of agitation. Ever since the blizzard last year, dad has had a bee in his bonnet about moving to a warmer climate. It seems that Mike still has a bee in his bonnet over the criticism he got in the staff meeting.
See also: bee, bonnet

the bee's knees

dated slang Something or someone highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive, especially in a fancy or elaborate way. Tom's new Cadillac is really the bee's knees! Boy, that singer last night was the bee's knees, wasn't she?
See also: knee

be the bee's knees

To be exceptionally great, excellent, or high-quality. Have you ever tried the pistachio gelato at this place? It's absolutely the bee's knees! I'm so crazy about the girl I've started seeing. I think she's the bee's knees, and I don't care who knows it!
See also: knee

have a bee in (one's) bonnet

To talk incessantly about something one thinks is important (often in spite of others' disinterest). Ever since the blizzard last year, dad has had a bee in his bonnet about moving to a warmer climate It seems that Mike still has a bee in his bonnet over the criticism he got in the staff meeting.
See also: bee, bonnet, have

the birds and the bees

Lessons on sexual intercourse, as are typically taught to children or young adults. My mom talked to me about the birds and the bees this morning—it was so mortifying!
See also: and, bee, bird

bee in one's bonnet

a single idea or a thought that remains in one's mind; an obsession. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give one ~.) I have a bee in my bonnet over that cool new car I saw, and I can't stop thinking about it. I got a bee in my bonnet about swimming. I just wanted to go swimming all the time.
See also: bee, bonnet

the birds and the bees

Euph. sex and reproduction. (See also .) My father tried to teach me about the birds and the bees. He's twenty years old and doesn't understand about the birds and the bees!
See also: and, bee, bird

*busy as a beaver (building a new dam)

 and *busy as a bee; *busy as a one-armed paperhanger; *busy as Grand Central Station; *busy as a cat on a hot tin roof; *busy as a fish peddler in Lent; *busy as a cranberry merchant (at Thanksgiving); *busy as popcorn on a skillet
very busy. (*Also: as ~.) My boss keeps me as busy as a one-armed paperhanger. I don't have time to talk to you. I'm as busy as a beaver. When the tourist season starts, this store is busy as Grand Central Station. Sorry I can't go to lunch with you. I'm as busy as a beaver building a new dam. Prying into other folks' business kept him busy as popcorn on a skillet.
See also: beaver, busy

put a bee in someone's bonnet (about someone or something)

Fig. to give someone an idea about someone or something; to urge someone to do something. Julie put a bee in my bonnet about a way to solve our money problems. Sam put a bee in my bonnet about having a party for Jane. He put a bee in my bonnet about Jane. I'm glad he put a bee in my bonnet.
See also: bee, bonnet, put

bee in one's bonnet

A strange idea or notion; also, an idea that is harped on, an obsession. For example, Bill's got a bee in his bonnet about burglars; he's always imagining strange noises. This term, which replaced the earlier have bees in one's head, transfers the buzzing of a bee inside one's hat to a weird idea in one's head. [Second half of 1600s]
See also: bee, bonnet

birds and the bees, the

A euphemism for sex education, especially when taught informally. For example, It's time Father told the children about the birds and the bees. Cole Porter alluded to this expression in his witty song, "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love," (1928) when he noted that birds, bees, even educated fleas fall in love. This idiom alludes to sexual behavior in animals to avoid explicit explanation of human behavior. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: and, bird

busy as a beaver

Also, busy as a bee. Hardworking, very industrious, as in With all her activities, Sue is always busy as a bee, or Bob's busy as a beaver trying to finish painting before it rains. The comparison to beavers dates from the late 1700s, the variant from the late 1300s. Also see eager beaver; work like a beaver.
See also: beaver, busy

the bee's knees

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If something or someone is the bee's knees, they are extremely good. I loved this jacket when I bought it — I thought it was the bee's knees. Note: Some people believe that this expression refers to the way in which bees transfer pollen (= the powder that flowers make) from their bodies to pollen sacs on their back legs. However, it seems more likely that it dates from the 1920s, when other similar expressions such as `the cat's pyjamas' began to be used.
See also: knee

have a bee in your bonnet

If you have a bee in your bonnet about a subject, you feel very strongly about it and keep talking about it. Daley has a bee in her bonnet about the state of popular music. There was no arguing with the boy when he'd got a bee in his bonnet. Note: This expression suggests that you think the subject that a person keeps talking about is not important. The expression is considered old-fashioned in American English. Note: Two images are suggested by this expression. The first is of thoughts moving around inside someone's head like bees. The second is of someone who has a bee trapped in their hat and is anxious to get it out before they are stung.
See also: bee, bonnet, have

a busy bee

If you describe someone as a busy bee, you mean that they enjoy doing a lot of things and always keep themselves busy. `I enjoyed being a busy bee, getting things done,' she said in her confident way. Note: You can also say that someone is as busy as a bee. He is busy as a bee designing every production in London.
See also: bee, busy

the birds and the bees

If you tell a child about the birds and the bees, you explain to them about sex and sexual reproduction. At the age of 16 I remember having yet another discussion about the birds and the bees with my father. Note: This expression is often used humorously. Note: People sometimes explain sex and sexual reproduction to children by telling them how animals reproduce.
See also: and, bee, bird

the bee's knees

something or someone outstandingly good. informal
The bee's knees was first used to refer to something small and insignificant, but it quickly developed its current, completely opposite meaning.
See also: knee

have a bee in your bonnet

have an obsessive preoccupation with something. informal
This expression, along with have bees in the head or bees in the brain , was first used to refer to someone who was regarded as crazy or eccentric.
See also: bee, bonnet, have

the birds and the bees

basic facts about sex and reproduction as told to a child. informal
See also: and, bee, bird

as busy as a bee

very busy or industrious.
See also: bee, busy

busy bee

an industrious person
See also: bee, busy

the ˌbee’s ˈknees

(informal) a wonderful person or thing: He thinks he’s the bee’s knees (= has a high opinion of himself).
See also: knee

have a ˈbee in your bonnet

(informal) think or talk about something all the time and believe that it is very important: Harry’s always going around opening windows. He’s got a bee in his bonnet about fresh air.
A bonnet is a hat tied with strings under the chin, worn by babies and, especially in the past, by women.
See also: bee, bonnet, have

the birds and the ˈbees

(old-fashioned or humorous) the basic facts about sex and reproduction, the ‘facts of life’, as told to children: Now that Jamie is eleven, isn’t it time you told him about the birds and the bees?
See also: and, bee, bird

(as) busy as a ˈbee

very busy
See also: bee, busy

a ˌbusy ˈbee

(informal) a cheerful and busy person
See also: bee, busy

a bee in (one's) bonnet

1. An impulse to do something; a notion.
2. An obsession.
See also: bee, bonnet

bee's knees

Something that's excellent. This nonsensical phrase that was popular in the 1920s was, like “the cat's whiskers,” the equivalent of today's “really cool” or “it's amazing!” It went the way of such faddish expressions, which is to say, out.
See also: knee
References in classic literature ?
Not by a whole comb," cried the young bee who had broken the cluster.
But Melissa had already risen clear, and was heading for a breadth of virgin white clover, which to an overtired bee is as soothing as plain knitting to a woman.
She said any old bee could attend to our babies, and some day old bees would.
Sacharissa sped to a sealed worker-cell whose lid pulsated, as the bee within began to cut its way out.
Bees were winging their way heavily back to the hives with their honey.
You are better at making of kings, Mopo, than at the saving of one who was your king from the stroke of a wanderer," said the leader of the Bees, looking at me doubtfully.
But I, Mopo, who was now the first man in the land after the kings, ceasing to be a doctor and becoming a general, went up against Engwade with the regiment of the Bees and the regiment of the Slayers and smote him in his kraals.
Take out my straw and scatter it over the little girl and the dog and the Lion," he said to the Woodman, "and the bees cannot sting them.
The bees came and found no one but the Woodman to sting, so they flew at him and broke off all their stings against the tin, without hurting the Woodman at all.
The Wicked Witch was so angry when she saw her black bees in little heaps like fine coal that she stamped her foot and tore her hair and gnashed her teeth.
But now that her fierce wolves and her wild crows and her stinging bees were gone, and her slaves had been scared away by the Cowardly Lion, she saw there was only one way left to destroy Dorothy and her friends.
MENO: I should answer that bees do not differ from one another, as bees.
I have, also, reason to believe that humble-bees are indispensable to the fertilisation of the heartsease (Viola tricolor), for other bees do not visit this flower.
It is the white bees that are swarming," said Kay's old grandmother.
Parmenitch, a talkative, comely old man, gave Levin a very warm welcome, showed him all he was doing, told him everything about his bees and the swarms of that year; but gave vague and unwilling answers to Levin's inquiries about the mowing.