Do you remember saying, “None of your Beeswax” or “Mind your own beeswax” as a kid? It means, “None of your business.”
It popped into my mind the other day and vividly reminded me of being a kid again… it’s just one of those expressions that brings you back!
According to Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper (2009) by C. Marina Marchese, the expression might have its origins in the time when people sealed their letters with beeswax so no one could read them.
Elsewhere, it says the expression comes from a time when women sat together making candles out of beeswax. If someone would comment on another lady’s progress, the retort would be “Mind your own beeswax.”
According to 1,001 Old-Time Household Hints: Timeless Bits of Household Wisdom for Today (2006) by the Editors of Yankee Magazine, the expression comes from women using beeswax on their faces to make their complexion look better. If they sat too close to the fire the beeswax would melt. So “mind your beeswax” came about.
Personally, I like the first explanation the best. It fits in with not being nosy and is a nice story!
Another expression kids use when they don’t want to tell you something is, “None of your B.I. Business”. The question is, what does B.I. stand for? I found “Butt-Insky” as a possibility on a forum. Buttinsky is slang for a meddler (i.e. someone who butts in). I looked up “buttinski” in the Oxford English dictionary and found “butt-in” in the definition. I think “butt-in” alone could be where B.I. comes from.
If anyone would like to shed more light on these expressions, feel free to comment below. We also welcome similar expressions in English or in other languages.
Photo Credit: Original Wikipedia, edited by Mama Lisa
This article was posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 at 4:07 pm and is filed under Bees, Gardens, It's None of Your Beeswax, Mama Lisa, None of Your B.I. Business, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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