Editor's note: Before you read the posting below, check this page on 'The origin of the whole nine yards'.
In Reply to: Nine yards for the sheer heck of it posted by Barney on February 20, 2002
I'm pretty sure that the etimology of this one (from a number of sources) goes back to the Pacific Theatre WWII. All of the fighter planes used on aircraft carriers in the Pacific were built two companies (Grumman Aircraft and Chance-Vought). The planes were designed to carry ammunition in the wings (3 wing-mounted machine guns each side). The size of the wings, number of guns, carrying capacity of the airframe, and the US government wanting to use the same ammunition on most planes (simpler and lest costly) led to a fixed length for ammunition belts - 27 feet. If a pilot emptied all of his rounds in his efforts to destroy a target, he "gave it the Whole nine yards." Since this expression didn't hit the English language until during/after WWII, and considering the rest of the information put forth here, I think it's a safe bet. It's war-like and patriotic, too.