‘The cat’s whiskers – for our Dutch readers, ‘je van het’. Use this to describe anything which is simply the best (Tina Turner understood this). If you happen to be the person being called ‘the cat’s whiskers’, you’re probably really pleased and ‘looking like the cat that got the cream’.
Another way of saying ‘it’s the cat’s whiskers’ is ‘it’s the bee’s knees’, origin unconfirmed. Staying with the bees for a little longer, you can have ‘a bee in your bonnet’. To have a bee in your bonnet about something is to be completely obsessed by it, and not in a good way. A bonnet was that quaint hat-type thing with ribbons that tied under your chin and strangely enough, in UK English, the bonnet is what you open at the front of the car to see the engine (except in Volkswagen Beetles, where the engine is in the back). UK English sticks with the apparel theme by calling the thing you open at the back of the car (except in Volks… ah yes, you remembered) the boot. But here the similarity with US English ends, because Americans call that the trunk.
Today, the cat’s whiskers is the brilliant early birthday present I got from a vocal group I work with.
I am now the proud owner of two pieces of Glencoe in Scotland!