Posted by Gary Martin on June 23, 2005
In Reply to: Deep 6 the W9Y and brass monkeys posted by Lewis on June 23, 2005
: : : : : : Not a question, but a suggestion- you should add "the whole nine yards" to the index- It's from WWII when a pilot would shoot at something and use up the whole ammo belt in the machine gun. A belt of preloaded shells was 9 yards long (approx.) Thus when you really tear into something you are giving it "the whole 9 yards".
: : : : : What a novel idea! Thanks for sharing. By the way, Joe, read this: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/411150.html
: : : : Better idea: let's add a counter to the website that would add up the number of times W9Y theories bubble up to the surface. Every 100 submissions, the sender gets a prize: 9 yards of concrete wrapped in a kilt, maybe.
: : : I've a -- not sure what to call it, a "meta [something] perhaps. When and why did it become so popular to post 'whole nine yards' theories? I am reminded of back when print was just becoming risque there was a fad of creating acronyms for naughty words. Fornication Upon Command of the King was popular. When did 'whole nine yards' theories become the fad or fancy?
: : Maybe W9Y theories were always popular, and this forum gave them a stage to prance upon. --rb
: the phrase cold enough to freeze...
: oh, I give up! Perhaps there should be a special box listing w9y and brass monkey stories. I am still waiting for w9y in print in the 1950s - I am so longing for it!
: not to mention the co-efficient of expansion of brass compared to iron.
The BBC's Wordhunt appeal that was posted about earlier may include W9Y. I've been in touch with them and the OED to confirm a citation earlier than the OED's current earliest of 1970. A mass TV audience public appeal is probably the only way we're going to find earlier sightings in print of these phrases.