Bee in one's bonnet


      • obsession or fixation
        Referring to someone who is preoccupied or overly concerned with something, often to the point of being irrational or annoying

      • idea or plan
        Describing a sudden inspiration or brainstorm that one is excited about and eager to share or act upon

      • agitation or frustration
        Characterizing someone who is easily annoyed or irritated, often due to a nagging or persistent thought or problem

    Examples of Bee in one's bonnet

    • Maria has been acting strangely lately, and I can't seem to figure out why. She keeps bringing up the idea of moving to a different city, even though we just bought a new house and she loves our neighborhood. I think she has a bee in her bonnet about this.

      The phrase "bee in one's bonnet" originated in the 19th century and refers to a persistent and often obsessive idea or belief that someone can't shake. In this example, Maria is fixated on the idea of moving, even though there seems to be no logical reason for it. The phrase "acting strangely" describes her behavior as being out of character and uncharacteristic. Lastly, "figuring out why" shows the speaker's confusion and attempts to understand the situation.

    • My coworker, Sarah, has had a bee in her bonnet about a promotion for weeks now. She keeps bringing it up in every meeting and sending emails about it, even though our boss has already said she's not ready for the position. It's starting to become a bit annoying, to be honest.

      In this example, Sarah's fixation on getting promoted is affecting her behavior at work. She keeps raising the issue, even though it's clear that she's not yet qualified for the role. The phrase "a bit annoying" shows the frustration felt by those around her. The use of the phrase "having something in one's bonnet" highlights Sarah's persistence and single-mindedness around this issue.

    • Sometimes, when I'm working on a project and I can't seem to get it just right, I feel like I have a bee in my bonnet. I'll keep going over the same details, even though I know they're already perfect. It's frustrating, but I think it's a sign that I care deeply about the project and want to do my best.

      In this example, the use of "bee in my bonnet" describes the speaker's obsession with getting every detail of a project just right. It can be frustrating, as mentioned, but ultimately it shows a level of dedication and commitment to the task at hand, as well as a strong sense of focus and attention to detail.

    • I've noticed that my cousin, Sofia, has had a bee in her bonnet about starting her own business for a while now. She keeps researching potential ideas and asking for advice, but she hasn't taken any concrete steps yet. I'm afraid she might be getting too carried away, to be honest.

      In this example, Sofia's persistent focus on starting her own business, without taking clear action, could be seen as indicative of an unrealistic or overly ambitious plan. The use of "bee in her bonnet" highlights this obsession and potentially gives the speaker pause for concern about the feasibility of Sofia's goals.

    • Alice has a bee in her bonnet about quitting her job and starting her own business. She's been researching it for weeks and can't seem to shake the idea.

      When someone has a bee in their bonnet, they are fixated on an idea or plan that they simply can't let go of. In this example, Alice has become obsessed with the idea of quitting her job and starting her own business, despite any practical considerations or reservations.

    • Sarah's latest obsession is baking sourdough bread. She's been reading every available book on the subject, and is determined to perfect her technique. Her friends can hardly recognize her in her new bonnet of baking.

      In this example, Sarah's obsession with baking sourdough bread is so strong that it's consumed her thoughts and actions. Her friends might even say that she has a bee in her bonnet about it, due to the intensity of her focus and dedication.

    • Tim has had a bee in his bonnet about learning to play the guitar since he was a teenager, but has never followed through. Now, in his thirties, he's finally picked up a guitar and is practicing relentlessly. His fingers are sore, but he's determined to stick with it.

      In this example, the idea of learning to play the guitar has stuck with Tim for years, like a bee that just won't leave his bonnet. Despite his initial lack of follow-through, he's finally decided to act on the idea, and is putting in the effort to make it a reality.

    • Last week, Mark's friend Sarah came to visit and asked him why he was always preaching his favorite health fad to every person he met. Mark's friend thought he was losing his mind, as Mark had been fixated on this health fad for weeks and wouldn't let it go. Mark was so determined to spread the word about the fad that his friends thought he had a bee in his bonnet.

      In this example, the idea of promoting a health fad has become so all-consuming for Mark that his friends have started to worry about him. They might say that he has a bee in his bonnet about it, due to the intensity of his fixation and his inability to let the idea go.


    The phrase "bee in one's bonnet" can convey different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Generally, it is used to describe someone who is fixated or obsessed with something, whether it be an idea, plan, or concern. It can also refer to a state of agitation or frustration caused by a persistent thought or problem. In all cases, the phrase implies a sense of distraction or preoccupation.

    Origin of "Bee in one's bonnet"

    The origin of the idiom "bee in one's bonnet" is not entirely clear, but there are a few theories. One possibility is that it originated in the 16th century, when it was common for women to wear bonnets with ribbons or strings that could attract bees. If a bee were to get stuck in someone's bonnet, it would likely cause agitation and distraction. This could have led to the phrase being used to describe someone who is agitated or preoccupied.

    Another theory suggests that the idiom originated from the behavior of bees themselves. Bees are known for being hardworking and constantly buzzing around, often becoming fixated on one particular flower or task at a time. This could have led to the phrase being used to describe someone who is similarly focused or obsessed with one thing.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "bee in one's bonnet" has been in use since at least the 18th century and continues to be a popular phrase in modern English. Its multiple meanings and relatable imagery make it a versatile and commonly used idiom.