What is the origin of the phrase ‘the bee’s knees’?

What is the origin of the phrase ‘the bee’s knees’? Ever wondered why we say this most odd expression: the bee’s knees? It all started with another expression, still used today. The expression ‘the be-all and [the] end-all’, meaning chiefly ‘the central or most important element’ is (like ‘one fell swoop’) a quotation from Macbeth…. Read more »

Is it proofreader, proof reader or proof-reader?

Is it proofreader, proof reader or proof-reader? Many people have asked Future Perfect about the spelling of ‘proofreader’ and ‘proofreading’. To explain this, let’s first think about the technical names for writing words like this: proof reading [spelling as two words] proof-reading [hyphenated compound noun] proofreading [closed spelling as one word] Similarly: proof reader [open… Read more »

Is it online, on line or on-line?

Is it online, on line or on-line? These days, when talking of the Internet world, most users will use ‘online’ and this denotes the Internet concept. Way back, when these words were starting out, many forms were seen in written communications (online, on line and on-line); the difference between them (ie the use of the hyphen)… Read more »

Is it OK or okay – and why?

Is it OK or okay – and why? Where does OK come from? It was popularised and begun in 1840 as a slogan of the O.K. Club, a Democratic party political club of the 1840s. It stands for Old Kinderhook, the nickname of President Martin Van Buren, born at Kinderhook, New York. It became popular… Read more »

Is it Web site or website?

Is it Web site or website? Since the World Wide Web is a proper noun, we use initial upper-case letters, as we would with your surname, for example. As for writing ‘Web site’ as one word, it is true that this is now the preferred way to write this, but it had not always been… Read more »

Is it e-mail, email, E-mail or Email?

Is it e-mail, email, E-mail or Email? To hyphenate or not to hyphenate? Many people wonder about this when typing the abbreviated version of ‘electronic mail’ or ‘electronic business’ etc. As it is a relatively new word, you will find most variations of spellings backed up in various dictionaries or references: Wired Magazine announced that… Read more »

Is it e-business or ebusiness?

Is it e-business or ebusiness? Nearly all references to ‘electronic something’ should be formed using the hyphen – see our e-mail explanation.

Is it Diesel or diesel?

Is it Diesel or diesel? We often see ‘diesel’ written in modern texts. Having said that, we should be aware that there are many words which derive from proper nouns, ie someone’s name, usually the inventor. Rudolf Diesel was a German engineer who lived 1858–1913; this fuel is named after him and so this should… Read more »