"The Whole Seven Yards" = "The Whole Nine Yards"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Sep 8 13:18:17 UTC 2012

The yards here of course are cubic yards, not linear.  That I imagine
eliminates some hypotheses about a common origin.  (For example, they
both can't arise from football.)


At 9/8/2012 06:11 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>Though such cases may be worth mentioning, I think this one is not
>evidence for the concrete-truck theory, but merely one particular
>measurement that doesn't much leave, shall we say, this particular
>driveway. (seven = nine?)
>Perhaps compare:
>  American City v 68 p175 letter (verified on paper; exact reference
> at home, if anyone wants it, maybe August)
>  1953
>Based on actual scale weight, without regard to whether or not the
>bodies were full to the 9 yards of capacity, our trucks averaged during 1953...
>Utah Case Law - MULBACH v. HERTIG, 15 Utah 2d 121 (1964) (verified
>on paper; copy at home)
>Utah Case Law - Loislaw - Jan 22, 1964
>On March 15, 1962, at about 6:30 pm, the plaintiff was driving his
>large cement truck carrying about nine yards of aggregate (about
>2700 pounds per yard) in ...
>Billboard. Jan. 15, 1949. p.16 col. 1-2
>... it was 40 weeks a year for a routine. In radio, it is 40 'weeks
>every week. In television, it's 40 weeks every hour, TV Gobbles 'Em
>Up What few people outside the program ranks realize is that
>television eats up programs like a nine-yard shovel.
>I do think, though, that an original "concrete" referent--concrete
>here defined very broadly, historical--is much more likely than a
>"mystical number" explanation (why yards? why US only?) or a random
>meaningless fill-in-the-blank place holder.
>Stephen Goranson
>From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of
>Shapiro, Fred [fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU]
>Sent: Friday, September 07, 2012 10:47 PM
>Subject: [ADS-L] "The Whole Seven Yards" = "The Whole Nine Yards"?
>I have never been a big fan of the concrete-truck theory of the
>origin of "the whole nine yards," but this citation could be taken
>as evidence for that theory, with "seven yards" later being changed
>for some reason to "nine yards":
>1953 _Cleveland Plain Dealer_ 6 Sept. 62 (GenealogyBank)  Their
>concrete was running four inches deep on hard bedded cinders and
>clay.  The five of them had the whole seven yards of ready-mix
>concrete spread and troweled on the 72-foot driveway in a matter of
>five hours, when refreshments were waiting.
>Fred Shapiro
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list