Jukebox / English words for @ / Whole nine yards

Michael Quinion words at QUINION.COM
Wed Jun 28 10:30:07 UTC 2000

Hey, sudden popularity here!

There's just time for a quick note on recent mentions of World
Wide Words pieces before my departure to Ireland for two weeks:

It was unexpected to have a mini-spate (spat?) of critical
comments on just three words in the piece about 'jukebox': "of
all places", in reference to the first recorded appearance of
the word in Time magazine. Following a disquisition about low-
life, to be suddenly elevated to the stratosphere by a reference
to that august magazine did seem to justify the comment.

I agree that some of the supposedly common words for @,
especially 'whirlpool', are more notable for being quoted in
pieces like mine than for real life usage; that word originated
as a joke anyway, so perhaps that is to be expected. (If I've
fallen into the trap Jesse Sheidlower mentions - uncritical
writing on language - I apologise!)

All those interested in the pieces posted here, plus about 700
others, may like to visit <http://www.quinion.com/words/>, the
home of World Wide Words. You will find many other matters that
could be commented upon ...

> 1.  are there any reliable compendia of phrase origins, with
> reasonably broad coverage?  something you would recommend to
> someone like my friend? ... 2.  specifically, what about THE

Ahem! See <http://www.quinion.com/words/articles/nineyards.htm>.
This is basically a pull-together of what is known, plus a
discussion of why most of the theories are rubbish. The 27ft of
WW2 aircraft machine-gun ammo seems to be the best bet as the
origin, but I'm not putting money on it ...

Members of this list may also like to note for future reference
that my mailings contain the following tagline:

* WORLD WIDE WORDS is copyright (c) Michael B Quinion 2000. You
  may reproduce this mailing in whole or in part in other free
  media provided that you acknowledge the source and quote the
  Web address of <http://www.quinion.com/words/>.

Michael Quinion
World Wide Words
<words at quinion.com>

More information about the Ads-l mailing list