1916 "the whole six yards," again from Kentucky

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 11 23:30:01 UTC 2012

Here's another appearance of "the whole six yards" in The Mount Vernon
[Kentucky] Signal, this time from a 1916 issue.

In this case, "yards" is a little smudged, which likely made it
difficult for Fred Shapiro to find it in his earlier search of the
Chronicling America database.  (Links to Fred's finds from 1912 issues
of the same newspaper are listed far below.)


[From "Livingston," The Mount Vernon Signal, 22 September 1916, Pg. 1.]

Well, Mr. Editor we must take our hat off to you. In your last week's
editorial you sure did give them the whole six yards and it did suit
us to a T.Y.  So, come again at your earliest convenience.



I should note that to find that I searched the Chronicling of America
database, looking for "whole six" in Kentucky newspapers.  As far as
I've been able to tell, this appears to be only instance, other than
those examples Fred found earlier, in which "the whole six yards"
appears.  On the other hand, it's possible that we'll find more by
looking for "six yards," but I think following up on that will take
real dedication on someone's part.

By the way, Livingston is a tiny little town in Rockcastle County,
Kentucky, just 10 miles or so down the road from Mt. Vernon.  (I have
no idea what its population was 100 years ago, but in 2000 only 228
souls lived there.)   All three Kentucky sightings from the last
century appear in articles devoted to various bits of local news
coming out of Livingston, so it seems fair to say that at least one
Livingstonian was fond of that expression.  For what that's worth.

I think it's interesting to think about the Mount Vernon Signal forms
from 1912 and 1916.

-- The 17 May 1912 usage [1] is, "will tell the whole six yards"

-- The 18 June 1912 usage [2] is, "will give you the whole six yards"

-- The 22 September 1916 usage is, "did give them the whole six yards"

To me the latter two beautifully parallel Sam Clement's very important
1964 find [3]:  "'Give 'em the whole nine yards" means an item-by-item
report on any project."  And for me "tell" strengthens "give" in the
sense of sharing or imparting information (either in writing or

But here's another question, no doubt unrelated to "the whole
[six/nine] yards":  why the "T.Y." in "suit us to a T.Y."?

-- Bonnie

[1] http://tinyurl.com/8j784fo

[2] http://tinyurl.com/9mterwg

[3] http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004623.html

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

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