the whole, how shall we say, nine yards

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Sep 5 21:02:51 UTC 2012

I believe the "unreliable" book is the Facts-On-File Encyclopedia of Word
Origins, first edition. If I remember correctly, the second edition is much
improved, or at least doesn't make this claim.

That's what Jesse told me the book was when I asked years ago, and indeed,
the book does date the term to the 1950s, but provides no citation or
reference. (I no longer have my copy.)

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Jesse Sheidlower
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 8:58 AM
Subject: Re: the whole, how shall we say, nine yards

On Wed, Sep 05, 2012 at 11:49:06AM +0000, Stephen Goranson wrote:
> In Nov. 1997 The Maven's Word of the Day, Jesse Sheidlower wrote: "(An
> unreliable book has claimed that it dates from the 1950s, which is
> itself not that implausible.)" What book is that? Is that book now
> worth a second look or was it just guessing, relying on vague memory?


I don't remember what book that was, but I think it was just some pop
language book, and I'm sure it was just making it up. If there had been
anything to follow, I would have made a note of it.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list