Posted by S. Ryan on February 18, 2003
In Reply to: Slicking up to them nines posted by ESC on February 17, 2003
: : I remember my grandfather said that once. I always thought he was doing something
on the sly.
: : Someone told me recently that it ment to get drunk. But the way my grandfather used it didn't seem like that.
: : I don't remember the context he used it in though.
: : Anyone know what this term means?
: Could it relate to "dressed to the nines"? There are several theories for this phrase. Here's one:
: "dressed to the nines means dressed in a very elaborate fashion. One of the great word sleuths of all time, Walter Wilson Skeat, thought that the expression originally must have been 'dressed to the eyes.' The way it might have appeared in Old English would have been: 'To the eyne.' It's very easy to see how that could have been transformed into 'to the nines.'" From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (second edition, copyright 1977, 1988. HarperCollins).
: If we accept one of the possible meanings of "the Whole nine yards" as the full nine yards of material used by tailors to make a proper suit, would this not follow that the fellow was indeed "slicking up" that is "dressing to the nines?"