[Ads-l] "Full Nine Yards" from 1894

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 10 02:07:09 UTC 2015


After the various postings tonight, I now am convinced that the 1894 occurrence is literal, not metaphorical.  The bandage length could have inspired the metaphorical usage, but probably not.

Fred Shapiro



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From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole [adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, August 09, 2015 7:16 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: "Full Nine Yards" from 1894

To supplement my previous post: Below is a short link to the desired
location together with a longer excerpt mentioning four different
bandage lengths. Nine yards was the longest.

Year: 1918
Title: The Treatment of Emergencies
Author: Hubley R. Owen M.D.
Publisher: W.B. Saunders Company
Quote Page 206 and 207

https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__bit.ly_1HAdncb&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=_uQD8wviqs_xjBSJDl0azEb1Ijsn8dHxWshoRU5hoBM&s=sv1kHrEDX85P-aufRXR6fWFQBFwqDF3Cyr9K7HYS9Co&e=

https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__books.google.com_books-3Fid-3D0vozAQAAMAAJ-26q-3D-2522nine-2Byards-2522-23v-3Dsnippet-26&d=AwIBaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=sRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=_uQD8wviqs_xjBSJDl0azEb1Ijsn8dHxWshoRU5hoBM&s=2lt4UGjakCMK0Z5Wl7HufiihE3GjvKH2cfyQTRpWp5U&e=

[Begin excerpt]
A roller bandage is made by taking a strip of one of the
above-mentioned materials. The width and length depends upon the part
to be bandaged. For the fingers, hand or toes the bandage should be
one inch wide and three yards in length. For the arms and legs the
bandage should be two and one-half inches wide and seven yards long.

For bandaging the thigh groin or trunk the bandage should be three
inches wide and nine yards long. For bandaging the head the bandage
should be two inches wide and six yards long.
[End excerpt]

On Sun, Aug 9, 2015 at 6:52 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Below is some evidence that the bandage length of nine yards was
> literal. Of course, this also suggests one possible origin for the
> metaphorical expression.
>
> Year: 1918
> Title: The Treatment of Emergencies
> Author: Hubley R. Owen M.D.
> Publisher: W.B. Saunders Company
> Quote Page 206 and 207
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> For bandaging the thigh groin or trunk the bandage should be three
> inches wide and nine yards long. For bandaging the head the bandage
> should be two inches wide and six yards long.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
>
> On Sun, Aug 9, 2015 at 6:33 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: "Full Nine Yards" from 1894
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> I'm undecided on this.  Wouldn't it be stylistically odd for a physician,
>> in a clinical lecture delivered in 1894, to suddenly lapse (esp. without
>> quote marks or printed italics) into a highly colloquial manner of speech?
>>
>> JL
>>
>> On Sun, Aug 9, 2015 at 5:15 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>> -----------------------
>>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: "Full Nine Yards" from 1894
>>>
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>
>>> On Sun, Aug 9, 2015 at 4:20 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> > this does not appear to be a literal use of "nine yards."
>>>
>>>
>>> Youneverknow.
>>>
>>> Besides, that this may be a possible *literal* use is far more interesting
>>> than yet another early instance of the derived use, wouldn't you say?
>>> --
>>> -Wilson
>>> -----
>>> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
>>> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>>> -Mark Twain
>>>
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>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>>
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