[Ads-l] "The whole nine yards" in Henry County, Kentucky, 1908, 1914, 1923

Bonnie Taylor-Blake b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 26 12:00:04 UTC 2023

Thank you for the kind words, Fred, Gerry, and Stephen.

I'm very much a "poor Bonnie one note" on the listserv, but I greatly enjoy
the breadth and depth of everyone's contributions here and appreciate the
patience with my, well, obsession with this expression.

-- Bonnie

On Sat, Mar 25, 2023 at 12:46 PM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

Quite right, Bonnie, Fred, Gerald.
> She has illuminated one of the greatest English puzzles. Excellent!
> Stephen Goranson
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU>
> Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2023 12:42 PM
> Subject: Re: "The whole nine yards" in Henry County, Kentucky, 1908, 1914,
> 1923
> I agree with Fred's praise of the extensive work Bonnie has done on the
> whole
> nine yards. It is one of the highlights of modern etymological research on
> English and
> deserves to be published as either a lengthy article or monograph.  In
> particular
> it is an illustration of the significant work currently being carried out
> on the
> English lexicon and English expressions by independent scholars.
> I would strongly urge one of the editors of American Speech to consider
> contacting
> her with a proposal to prepare such a work.
> Gerald Cohen
> Department of Arts, Languages, & Philosophy
> Missouri University of Science & Technolgy
> Rolla, MO 65402
> (research specialty: Etymology)
> ________________________________
>  Fred Shapiro ( <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>), wrote (Saturday, March 25, 2023
> 10:45 AM):
> Wow, Bonnie extends her already legendary mastery of "whole nine yards"
> res=
> earch !
> Fred Shapiro
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> Bonnie=
>  Taylor-Blake <b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2023 9:43 AM
> Subject: "The whole nine yards" in Henry County, Kentucky, 1908, 1914, 1923
> Nothing really to write home about, but here are some early uses of "the
> whole nine yards" coming out of Henry County, Kentucky in 1908 and 1914.
> These are contemporaneous with uses of "the full/whole nine yards" in
> Mitchell, Indiana, and "the whole six yards" in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky.
> You'll find Henry County between Louisville and Cincinnati and a little
> northwest of Frankfort, Kentucky, where someone I've interviewed about the
> expression mentioned hearing it growing up there in the '30s. The county
> is, as the crow flies, about 70 miles southeast of Mitchell and 120 miles
> northwest of Mt. Vernon.
> I probably shouldn't focus too much on the idiom's early distribution in
> Indiana and Kentucky, because we have evidence of its use in Arkansas,
> South Carolina, Georgia within a decade, which suggests it may have been
> fairly widespread across the South and Upland South by, say, ca. 1905 (and
> earlier), but that it didn't make it into newspapers that often.
> But at least these appearances add to our understanding of how folks were
> using the idiom 100+ years ago.
> -- Bonnie
> --------------------------------
> One of our young men was greatly puzzled last Saturday at Glen Mary. He
> left his best girl in the buggy to hold the horse while he went in the
> store to buy candy and tulu. When he came out his girl and rig were gone.
> Some one had stolen the whole nine yards. My! How he did sprint until he
> overtook them. The other fellow said he was just fooling as he had one of
> his own.
> (From news out of Glen Mary, Henry County Local, New Castle, Kentucky, 15
> May 1908, p. 4. This is a very slight antedating of an appearance of "the
> whole nine yards" in a June, 1908 issue of The Mitchell Commercial. Still,
> Mitchell's "the full nine yards" bests this by a year.)
> ---------------
> "As my time expires today for the Local, you will find enclosed check for
> $1.25. I will take the whole nine yards." [This whole souled gentleman
> means he wants the Local and 4 magazines -- Ed.]
> (From "Letters," Henry County Local, 27 March 1914, p. 8. The letter-writer
> was in tiny Gest, Kentucky, 15-ish miles north of Frankfort.)
> ---------------
> Fishback made his final bow to high school athletics. He stood grandly
> thruout the whoe [sic] nine yards. He struck out twelve men and scored one
> of the two baggers for the home team; his work well deserves praise.
> (From Richard F. Moody's "Eminence" column, reporting on the last baseball
> game of the season for the high school. Henry County Local, 1 June 1923, p.
> 4.)

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