whole nine yards

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed Jun 28 01:21:25 UTC 2000

for a friend who's not on this list (and is not a linguist,
linguist-wannabe, or even linguistics-hanger-on), i'm asking
two questions, a general one and a particular one.  i think
we might have discussed the general question here.  i'm almost
positive we've discussed the specific question here, but i find
nothing on it in the archives or in the faq.

so i'm sort of embarrassed to be asking.  anyway...

1.  are there any reliable compendia of phrase origins, with
reasonably broad coverage?  something you would recommend to
someone like my friend?  (i have a couple of the old funk volumes -
A Word in Your Ear, and A Hog on Ice - and of course a fair number
of phrases are treated in unabridged dictionaries, in DARE, in
lighter, etc., but i don't have anything that would suit my
friend's needs.  but then phrase origins is a topic way way off
my academic interests.)

2.  specifically, what about THE WHOLE NINE YARDS?  the ADS blurb
for its faq mentions the expression, but then i found nothing in
the faq about it.  (this could well be an incompetence in my web
mastery, of course.)  is there a good discussion of this particular
expression, especially a discussion someplace accessible to the

arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)

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