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The Whole Nine Yards

Posted by RRC on August 12, 2009 at 17:15

In Reply to: The Whole Nine Yards posted by R. Berg on August 11, 2009 at 15:57:

: : : BUT BACK TO THE original question: is this close enough to the Whole Nine Yards? May not have been the first use but sure kept it going in the 60's.

: : Posted here after reading an article on this subject (know this is four years after 64, but still no mention of parachute lines). And this is not conjecture, this was the reason and the first time I remember using term. Article ended with :

: : If anyone has any hard evidence of this phrase being used before 1964, e.g. an appearance of the phrase in print, I would love to see it. Please post your feedback at the Phrase Finder Discussion Forum - but please, evidence not conjecture.

: : Copyright © Gary Martin, 1996 - 2009

: Mr. Flores, the answer to your original question is probably that you're the first person to send the parachute idea to this site, whereas some explanations are submitted over and over--football, cement trucks, fabric in a sari, sails on a ship, and a few others.

: By the way, when posting a reply, would you please leave intact what's above it? Erasing the earlier part of a discussion makes it harder to follow. ~rb

In the original post, you say you don't know how long the lines were. Your argument for this usage being the original usage only holds up if the lines are 27 feet long. If they were literally telling you to use the whole 9 yards = 27 feet (rather than the figurative "whole nine yards" = all of it) and you remember that they did that, it seems like you would have known that the lines were 27 feet long.
Additionally, if you have calculated one line _might_ be close to 27 feet (canopy to payload), each parachute has multiple (like 10 to 20 I'm guessing based on pictures) lines so one parachute would have hundreds of feet of line. This doesn't make sense with your statement about what they said if the chute didn't open about going down with the whole nine yards as there is a lot more than nine yards of line (or a lot more than nine yards of fabric in the canopy) in one parachute. Therefore, they must have meant the whole thing, the whole kit and kaboodle, the whole megillah, etc., i.e. they were already using the phrase as an idiom, not originating it.