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

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 14 17:06:28 UTC 2016

2016-01-14 11:13 GMT-05:00 Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com>:

> V2VsbCwgd2Uga25vdyB0aGF0IHRoZSAianVkZ2UncyBiaWcgc2hpcnQiIHN0b3J5IHdhcyByZXBy

I'm afraid your text came through for me as garbled, John.  I think
this is a gmail thing, so -- for the sake of other gmail users out
there -- I've taken the liberty of reproducing your text.


Well, we know that the "judge's big shirt" story was reprinted in a
newspaper in the southern Indiana area in 1885, so it had some
currency only about three decades earlier than the clear references to
"whole nine yards" in the early 20th century.  "The Judge's Big
Shirt," Madison (Ind.) Dollar Weekly Courier, 31 Jan. 1885, p. 4.  In
my own family, sometimes we have mentioned jokes we read in a
newspaper or magazine for a great many years after the joke appeared.
So I certainly don't think we can rule this origin out just based on
the length of time.  On the other hand, that seems a weak reed to
assert that it was the "apparent" origin.



Thanks for this.  As far as I can tell, though, that sighting in the
Madison Dollar Weekly Courier (as held in the database at
newspaperarchive.com, at least) is from the 31 January 1855 edition of
the paper.  Please do correct me if I'm wrong, of course!

Other that, I agree with everything you've written.

-- Bonnie

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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