Posted by ESC on December 28, 1999
In Reply to: Dressed to the nines posted by Charles Hurt on December 28, 1999
: anyone know the origin of the phrase "Dressed to the nines?"
"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).