"the whole nine"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Feb 11 02:31:30 UTC 2014

Just occurring to me --- being a football player, perhaps he was
inhibited from saying "the whole nine yards"?  For one thing, nine
yards isn't enough --- an offense needs ten.


At 2/10/2014 09:22 PM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote:
>On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 8:46 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> > An NFL player, being interviewed about possible reaction from other
> > players, said (essentially) imagine one in the locker room, next to
> > you, naked, in the shower, "the whole nine."
>Thanks for bringing this up, Joel.
>I once went looking for such examples (of a lopped-off "whole nine
>yards" when the speaker/writer clearly meant the whole idiom) and --
>as far as I can remember -- shortened versions started appearing in
>the popular press in the 1990s, though I will admit it was kind of
>hard to research that and, well, I sort of gave up.  In any event I've
>often wondered whether the yards-less version of the idiom will
>predominate in fifty years or so.
>Anyway, and more importantly, Arnold Zwicky helpfully mentions "the
>whole nine" as an example of nonce truncation in this August, 2009
>(He returns to nonce truncation in later postings too.)
>-- Bonnie
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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