Etymology
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bee's knees (n.)
1923, a survivor of a fad around this year for slang terms denoting "excellence" and based on animal anatomy. Also existed in the more ribald form bee's nuts. Other versions that lasted through the century are cat's whiskers (1923), cat's pajamas, cat's meow. More obscure examples are canary's tusks, cat's nuts and flea's eyebrows. The fad still had a heartbeat in Britain at the end of the century, as attested by the appearance of dog's bollocks in 1989. Bee's knee was used as far back as 1797 for "something insignificant."
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knee-deep (adj.)
c. 1400, "up to the knees," from knee (n.) + deep (adj.).
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bongo (n.)
"one of a pair of attached small drums held between the knees and played with the fingers," 1920, from American Spanish (West Indies, especially Cuba), from a word of West African origin, such as Lokele (Zaire) boungu. Related: Bongos.
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kneel (v.)
Old English cneowlian "to kneel, fall on the knees," from Proto-Germanic *knewljan (source also of Middle Low German knelen, Middle Dutch cnielen, Dutch knielen Gothic knussjan), from PIE root *genu- (1) "knee; angle." Past tense knelt is a modern formation (19c.) on analogy of feel/felt, etc. Related: Kneeler; kneeling.
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kilt (n.)
"plaited tartan skirt," originally the part of the belted plaid which hung below the waist, c. 1730, quelt, from Middle English verb kilten "to tuck up" (mid-14c.), from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish kilte op "to tuck up;" Old Norse kilting "shirt," kjalta "fold made by gathering up to the knees").
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goose-step (n.)
1806, originally a military drill to teach balance; "to stand on each leg alternately and swing the other back and forth." This, presumably, reminded someone of a goose's way of walking. In reference to "marching without bending the knees" (as in Nazi military reviews) it apparently is first recorded 1916. As a verb by 1854.
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knickers (n.)
1866, in reference to loose-fitting pants for men worn buckled or buttoned at the waist and knees, shortening of knickerbockers (1859), said to be so called for their resemblance to the trousers of old-time Dutchmen in Cruikshank's illustrations for Washington Irving's "History of New York" (see Knickerbocker). As "short, loose-fitting undergarment for women," by 1882, now the usual sense.
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flow (n.)

mid-15c., "action of flowing," from flow (v.). Meaning "amount that flows" is from 1807. Sense of "any strong, progressive movement comparable to the flow of a river" is from 1640s. Flow chart attested from 1920 (flow-sheet in same sense from 1912). To go with the flow is by 1977, apparently originally in skiing jargon.

Go with the flow, enjoy the forces, let ankles, knees, hips and waist move subtly to soak up potential disturbances of acceleration and deceleration. [Ski magazine, November 1980]
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tuffet (n.)

1550s, "little tuft," from Old French touffel (with diminutive suffix -et for French -el), diminutive of touffe (see tuft). Obsolete except in the nursery rhyme "Little Miss Muffet" (1843), where it has been felt to mean "hassock, footstool."

LITTLE Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
And made of her knees such display
That the old fashioned spider,
Embarrassed beside her,
Was actually frightened away!
[Life magazine, Oct. 1, 1927]
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marrowbone (n.)

late 14c., marybones (late 13c. as a surname), "bone containing fat or marrow," from marrow + bone (n.). A poetic Old English word for "bone" was mearhcofa "marrow-chamber." Later generally of any large bone. The conjecture that it is a corruption of Mary-bones, in allusion to the reverence paid to the Virgin Mary by kneeling "is absurd" [Century Dictionary]; nonetheless, marrowbones is used especially to mean "the bones of the knees" (1530s). To ride in the marrow-bone coach was one of many terms in old slang for "to go on foot."

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