[Antedating] "All nine yards" [1962]

Bonnie Taylor-Blake taylor-blake at NC.RR.COM
Tue Nov 13 02:42:24 UTC 2007

> Great discovery, the earliest known citation that sheds any
> light, however cryptic, on the development of "whole nine
> yards."  Can I ask which database or other method yielded
> this citation?

Thanks, Fred.

I'm afraid I stumbled on this one while poking around Google Books, which
provided the snippet view and hinted at the proper volume number, but very
unhelpfully failed to identify the issue number.  In any event, with the aid
of a couple great library staff members (here in Chapel Hill and up there in
Michigan), the issue in question at last was found.

I'm not sure, though, how much this sighting of "all nine yards [of X]"
helps, except in demonstrating (I think) the letter-writer's and editor's
nonchalance about the expression and their implicit confidence that the
figurative use of "all nine yards of" would be easily understood by readers
of *Car Life*.

-- Bonnie

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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