phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

The Whole Nine Yards

Editor's note: Before you read the posting below, check this page on 'The origin of the whole nine yards'.

Posted by J.hilger on May 01, 2001

In Reply to: The Whole Nine Yards posted by Barney on June 09, 2000

It's a phrase used often by military personnel and attributed to a military enterprise of some sort but no one is certain of it's origin. Conceptually it seems to imply - to go the distance, give'm all you got, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead

: : : : : The Associate Dean in the office of international affairs where I work, asked in conversation if I knew
: : : : : where this phrase originated. I had no idea, so I thought I would try and find out.
: : : : : After checking a few dictionaries, I found something. You can find it to, in:
: : : : : Brewer: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1173-1174.
: : : : : It says, that the length of a kings' standard was nine yards, where the length of a princes' was 7 yards;
: : : : : a marquis' was 6 and 1/2 yards; an earls' was 6 yards, a dukes' was 5 yards...

: : : : So... if the phrase dates back to days of yore and knights on horseback, it should be easy for you to find a text reference to it prior to, say, 1965. Happy hunting; the prize awaits.

: : : Here we go again.
: : : What's a phrase for over and over and over.........

: : Well, it's not exactly the same each time, because I keep increasing the value of the Big Prize. It's now up to ... drumroll please ... FOUR dollars American, plus of course the thanks of a grateful nation, and a certificate suitable for framing.

: My understanding is that a Duke outranks a mere Earl. Why then has he to make do with a yard in his Standard. There be holes in this latest theory.