the whole nine 'yards

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Dec 28 20:37:19 UTC 2004

Well, when asked this the last few times on this list I've either given
examples of "whole N-number of X-groups-with-members" to show that such
phrases are indeed used (e.g., "the whole ten companies"). Or I think I've
suggested that a comparison with a putative "all..." that you might have said
with the actual "whole/full..." that someone did say may not be the history
question, since you didn't prescribe the phrase. But consider this; which is
more emphatic: "all" or the version with definite article?

Compare "all of you" with "the whole lot of you."

Admittedly, I'm speculating here that delicate nuance was not what the DOOM
Pussy writer or Smash or the buddy they heard was going for.

Stephen Goranson

Quoting "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at UMR.EDU>:

>[...] why wouldn't the expression be "all nine yards"?

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