the whole nine (')yards

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 28 16:56:24 UTC 2004

I have been fascinated by the amount of research that has gone into this
issue. All of the people who have joined in have my thanks for elucidating the
fascinating evolution of this phrase. While the archives are apparently always
going to be there, the old-fashioned scholar in me suggests that it would be
great if someone were to write this up for the "permanent scholarly record,"
perhaps in AMERICAN SPEECH or DICTIONARIES. (Or maybe somebody has already done

It also occurs to me that, regardless of the "real" origin of this phrase, it
would not have prospered in the general culture if people using it had
thought they were using a metaphor that referred to Montagnards (or even machine
guns) rather than football or weaving, especially given that the phrase is so
frequently used with the verb GO ("He went the whole nine yards"). One again we
are reminded of Connie Eble's principle that slang terms generally have
multiple origins. Even if one can establish a "first" use for a term, that doesn't
tell us a thing about how the term was interpreted by the next round of users,
let alone the public at large.

In a message dated 12/27/04 11:58:45 PM, douglas at NB.NET writes:

> >DOOM Pussy, not to be confused with DOOM Pussy II.
> DP II is an updated slightly altered version. The "nine yards" instances
> are essentially unchanged.
> >It might help if we knew the real first name of "Smash," who died "in the
> >early
> >90's."
> Frank, according to DP II.
> -- Doug Wilson

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