[Ads-l] A recent revision to the OED's online "the whole nine yards" entry

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 14 12:41:15 UTC 2016


> The fifty-year gap between the anecdote and the idiomatic use of the
phrase
 seems to suggest that the anecdote is apparently not the origin of the idi
om.

We simply don't know, and probably will never know, because we have no way
of knowing the oral (as opposed to the journalistic) circulation of the
story after the 1850s when it was no longer "newsworthy."

We certainly don't know the half-life of a newspaper joke in the 19th
century.

What we do know, thanks to Bonny's indefatigable research, is that the
severe restriction of early exx. of the phrase to the Ky.-Ind. border (or,
as the young people say, "the KY/IN border") seems to show its effective
_terminus a quo_.


JL

On Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 4:23 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: A recent revision to the OED's online "the whole nine
> yards"
>               entry
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 3:32 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > what is in every body's mouth be true.
>
>
> Shouldn't that be, "What I tell you three times is true"? ;-)
>
>
>
> --
> -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
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



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