"the whole nine yards" 1942 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jul 11 22:38:30 UTC 2007

>   I would have expected Land to have said "_all_ nine yards." ....

I made about the same argument with respect to a "nine yard"
etymological hypothesis on this list in 2004, and somebody else made
about the same argument before I did.

However, back when N'archive search was more effective, I did a
casual search for expressions such "the whole nine men" and found a
whole lot of instances of such expressions in otherwise unremarkable
prose. Perhaps "the whole [number] [general plural noun]" is not
really so unusual as I (inter alia) had thought (although I still
agree "all ..." would be more usual here).

-- Doug Wilson

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