phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

The Whole 9 Yards

Posted by Bill Martin on November 24, 2000

In Reply to: The Whole 9 Yards posted by Tomar on February 27, 2000

: I believe the universal use of the phrase stems from its use during WWII. US fighter planes were armed with fifty caliber machine guns. These guns were "fed" with belts that came in 27 foot lengths. On return from a sortie a pilot might say, "I gave them (the enemy) the whole nine yards".
: : I had always understood it to refere to the amount of fabric in a man's fully pleated kilt. As a theatrical costumer I *have* made them and it does take that much .

: I don't know, it's kind of a universal saying, and it's hard to believe it would have spread across Europe and the Americas from a reference to Scottish kilts. But then again, if you have any evidence to prove it, then there we are. It may very well be that it takes 9 yards of cloth, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that is the origin of the widely accepted phrase.
: This is the disappearing reappearing quote, it seems that no one really has any evidence to back up any suggested origin. Quite puzzling.