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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

fling (one's) bonnet over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, flinging her bonnet over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't fling your bonnet over the windmill.
See also: bonnet, fling, over, windmill

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

put a bee in (one's) bonnet

1. To give one a suggestion of or idea about something that one should do, especially something that one becomes very interested in or obsessed with as a result. Someone put a bee in my bonnet that I should really advertise aggressively on social media, so I've been trying to bolster that side of the business lately. MY father put a bee in his Harry's bonnet last week about growing his own vegetables, and he's been out digging up a garden for them ever since.
2. To cause one to be extremely aggravated, irritated, or angry (about something). You look upset—what's put a bee in your bonnet? It really puts a bee in my bonnet when you undermine me like that in front of the kids.
See also: bee, bonnet, put

throw (one's) bonnet over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, throwing her bonnet over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't throw your bonnet over the windmill.
See also: bonnet, over, throw, windmill
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a bee in (one's) bonnet

1. An impulse to do something; a notion.
2. An obsession.
See also: bee, bonnet
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bee in one's bonnet, to have a

To have a strange fixation about something; to have an eccentric idea or fantasy. A version of the term appears in Robert Herrick’s “Mad Maid’s Song” (ca. 1648): “. . . the bee which bore my love away, I’ll seek him in your bonnet brave.” Allegedly the expression stems from the analogy of a bee buzzing inside one’s hat to a peculiar idea in one’s head. It has been a cliché since the eighteenth century. Lest one think it is obsolete, it appeared in a 2004 murder mystery: “By the way, what bee got into your bonnet at the meeting? Bailey had been pretty cooperative” (David Baldacci, Hour Game).
See also: bee, have
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Rawyards House staff wish to thank everyone who came along to the event, adding: "It was a really good day and all of the bonnets on display were excellent.
Wee ones showed off their bonnets with a march around the nursery on Linwood's Abernethy Drive.
"Two bonnets in the bin, lots of papier mache, super glue, gaffer tape and many other failed attempts later, my son and I came up with this...
Slovak women cannot imagine covering their heads today, but their grandmothers had dozens of bonnets in their closets.A bride sits in the middle of a circle while older women are dancing and singing around her exactly at midnight.
Kids at Cabbage Patch NurseryinWishaw showed off their whacky and wonderful Easter bonnets.
Both men are wearing bonnets made of immature bald eagle tail feathers.
The police said all three killings were carried out by four armed men on motorcycles wearing bonnets or helmets, earning the perpetrators the moniker 'bonnet gang.'
Tonypandy Primary pupils from Years 3 and 4 show offtheir bonnets in 2004
"It's quite common for cats to find a warm resting place in the bonnets of cars.
IT'S Easter again, and thousands of children across the region have been beavering away (with a tiny bit of help from mum and possibly dad) to make spectacular bonnets.
Jocelyn believes that the bonnets bundled with matching pajamas could be sold in reputable children's clothing stores worldwide one day.
EASTER bonnets were out in force at Stoke Primary School.
The tradition of Easter bonnets dates back to a time when people marked the end of Lent and fasting by digging out their finery and celebrating.
Jessica, whose seven-year-old car was written off, is now investigating if there was a fault with the bonnet catch on her car after hospital and insurance workers claimed they had dealt with several other Clio drivers whose bonnets had flown open at speed.