The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Comments on Cecil's Columns/Staff Reports

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 01-26-2011, 04:48 PM
Zyada Zyada is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Foat Wuth!
Posts: 4,772
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheshire Human View Post
"Black Sheep Squadron" was about a US Marine Corps squadron (VMF-214) that flew F-4U Corsairs. The squadron commander, Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, had flown with the Flying Tigers, but the show itself was about his later career in the USMC, commanding that squadron.

Wiki.

[/hijack]
Ouch. And I made that mistake after I read this:

Quote:
John Wayne's character is nicknamed "Pappy." This was real-life Marine fighter ace Gregory Boyington's moniker. Boyington (the inspiration for the TV series Baa Baa Black Sheep) did in fact fly with the Tigers until early 1942, at that point parting ways with the AVG and returning to the United States in order to be reinstated in the Marine Corps. However, Boyington was not the inspiration for Wayne's character. "Pappy" was a common nickname for an older man, particularly as a military commander, in those days. Besides this, Boyington was not widely known as "Pappy" until late 1943, when he commanded VMF-214 (the Black Sheep Squadron), well after this movie was released.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #52  
Old 01-26-2011, 06:19 PM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyada View Post
The P-40 was equipped with 6 M2 Browning machine guns that took 150-200 .50 inch rounds a piece. This equates to each gun taking up to one hundred inches of ammunition. That's eight inches short of three yards. If the belts have ~ 1 mm between rounds, it's right at 3 yards per gun, 9 yards per side and 18 yards total per aircraft.
Here's a picture of "belted" 50 caliber ammunition. If those copper-clad bullets are 0.5" in diameter, it looks as if each round occupies something close to an inch. So 150 would be a touch over 4 yards.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 01-29-2011, 07:15 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 11,748
I just got an E-mail in reply to the letter I sent to Wegner on January 11th. The E-mail is from his daughter Julie Wegner Arnold, who is a professor of French at Alma College (where Wegner taught). In my E-mail, I included the list from post 23 of all nine uses of the phrase between 1962 and 1966. I give the entire E-mail below, but notice the following things: The E-mail says something about my previously having written him and E-mailed him, but it wasn't me that did that. I suspect that the people at Alma College are remembering some letter and E-mail sent to him by somebody else (probably somebody in the American Dialect Society mailing list) and assuming that I also wrote that letter and E-mail.

Wegner thinks that the phrase has something to do with shipyards in World War II. Interestingly, at some point somebody found a reference in congressional debates during World War II to "the whole nine yards" in reference to nine shipyards. The assumption up to now has been that this was simply an accidental use of the phrase to talk about all nine shipyards under discussion in that debate. It's possible that that was just accidental and it's possible that somehow the term spread and was heard by Wegner. It's possible that Wegner is inserting a story he heard much later into his memories (as often happens among almost everybody).

samclem and Tammi Terrell, you can go ahead and notify the American Dialect Society people about this E-mail. I will be E-mailing Arnold and telling her that I've never seen the magazine the story appeared in nor even the whole story. Here's the E-mail I received:

Dear Mr. Wagner,

My colleagues in the English department at Alma College recently brought to my attention the second letter you wrote to my father in their care and also mentioned that you have contacted them by e-mail in hopes of reaching him.

Some months ago I took your original letter to my father. I apologize that he never responded to you. He will soon turn 82, has chronic memory problems, and he suffers from a lack of motivation. Yesterday I shared your second letter with him, and we went on line to the link you provided and read the quote from "Man on the Thresh-Hold" in which the expression "the whole nine yards" appears. My father wrote and published numerous short stories, and since this one was written nearly 50 years ago, at this point he does not specifically recall writing it. Nonetheless he laughed enthusiastically as I read the quote from the story and said that it sounds indeed like something he wrote. My mother and I also agree that this passage sounds just like him and is typical of his style and subject matter (friction or lack of communication between man and wife; enumeration of domestic realities or responsibilities; mention of a left-handed college professor, which he is and was). Too, my mother bought Fuller brushes! However, to be absolutely sure that he is the author, it will be best to have him read the story in its entirety so that he can better recognize it. To jump start my search, can you tell me the library in which you found the fall, 1962 issue of Michigan Voices? He has never been very good about cataloguing his own work or keeping copies easily identifiable in his own library.

In the meantime, my father is quite lucid about what believes to be the origin of "the whole nine yards." He did not hesitate to say that he thought it derived from a WWII program to arm the nation and specifically build the navy. He thought it referred to ship building yards on the east coast and always thought there were nine of them, though he couldn't verify that for sure. However, he says that he personally has always used to term "to express extravagance, or an all-out effort."

I hope this is somewhat helpful and look forward to hearing from you.


Julie Wegner Arnold
Professor of French
Alma College
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 01-30-2011, 12:20 AM
Irishman Irishman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Just one question: how many yards have we gone so far to answer this question?
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:26 AM
Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 148
Thanks for your efforts on this front, Wendell Wagner! I hope you'll be able to follow up with the younger Prof. Wegner (or, rather, Wegner Arnold) soon.

samclem or I can probably help you with getting a copy of the full short story, if that helps. (Another member of the ADS-L found the complete work.) But I don't think the authorship is in question -- I'm sure you've found the creator of "Man on the Thresh-Hold."

I wonder if I could ask a few further questions, though. (I'm sure other readers here will pipe up, too.)

In your letter, did you happen to ask the elder Prof. Wegner how he may have first encountered the expression? I recognize his memory may be failing, so it may be difficult for him to know exactly how he became acquainted with the phrase, but it would be helpful to see what he can recall. (It might be helpful to ask his wife the same question. Presumably she was familiar with the expression, at least by the time her husband wrote the story.)

Also, were you able to ask a bit about his background? You probably should let him volunteer this information and avoid fishing for specifics (like asking him whether he ever served in the military or whether he had a side interest in aviation), but it would be interesting to see what he reveals.

Last edited by Tammi Terrell; 01-30-2011 at 10:29 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 01-30-2011, 02:02 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 11,748
I just got a second E-mail from Julie Wegner Arnold. As you remember from the first E-mail, the Wegner family wasn't certain that he was the author of the story. Wegner said that he wrote a number of stories back then and couldn't be certain that he wrote that one. Arnold said that the story sounded like something that her father wrote. As you can see in the E-mail below, they are now certain that it was his story. Wegner searched through some folders with his stories and found that one.

Tammi Terrell, I would rather not be the one to bother the Wegner family with too many E-mails. Is it possible for someone in the American Dialect Society Listserv to take over the communication with Arnold at this point? I would give her E-mail address to the person who will do that. Alternately, if you want me to be the one who contacts her, I would like the people at the American Dialect Society to compose the E-mail so we can ask the necessary questions in as few E-mails as possible.

Here is the E-mail I just got from Julie Wegner Arnold:

Hello again, Mr. Wagner,

Since I sent you the e-mail yesterday, my father located a folder in which he had stored several slender issues of Michigan Voices, all of which contain submissions by him. This includes the Fall, 1962 issue containing "Man on the Thresh-hold." There is no doubt that he wrote the story.

I hope my e-mails are helpful to you. Good luck with your on-going research.


Julie Wegner Arnold

Here is the text of the letter I sent to Robert E. Wegner (via his English Department address):

Dear Mr. Wegner,

Are you the Robert E. Wegner who wrote the story “Man on the Thresh-Hold” in the Fall 1962 issue of Michigan’s Voices? If so, you could be part of the solution of one of the major problems in the etymology of American English. The origin of the phrase “the whole nine yards” has been mystifying etymologists for decades. The phrase was never attested before the 1960’s, but it’s now very common. There are only nine uses of the phrase in print between 1962 and 1966:

1. Fall, 1962, "the whole nine yards" and "the whole damn nine yards" in a short story appearing in a Michigan literary magazine, http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/1783/

2. December, 1962, "all nine yards of" in a letter to Car Life, http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langu...es/005107.html

3. April, 1964, "the whole nine yards" in a syndicated newspaper article about NASA slang, http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langu...es/004623.html

4. April, 1965, "the whole nine yards" in a newspaper article describing the completeness of a military training exercise, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=R6101&m=73644

5. December, 1965, "the whole nine yards" used to describe well-outfitted military uniforms, in a newspaper article, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R2892

6. June, 1966, "the whole nine yards" in a newspaper article describing a collection of Indiana folklore, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ads-l&P=6810

7. September, 1966, "the nine yards of" at a symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ads-l&P=5152

8. September, 1966, multiple instances of "the whole nine yards" in Wings of the Tiger: A Novel, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...&F=&S=&P=15082

9. 1966 (published early 1967), multiple instances of "the whole nine yards" (and variants) in Doom Pussy, e.g., http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ads-l&P=3120 and http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php...ine_yards_the/ (Is there a concise listing elsewhere of all examples to be found in Doom Pussy?)

The origin of “the whole nine yards” is discussed frequently on the American Dialect Society Listserv, an E-mail-distributed discussion group about American English dialects (which I don’t read), and on the Straight Dope Message Board, an online message board about interesting difficult questions of all sorts (which I do regularly read). It just occurred to me to try to search online for anyone with the name Robert E. Wegner. Since you were teaching English at a college in Michigan in 1962, it struck me that you were the most likely person to have written this story.

If you are indeed the person who wrote this story, can you remember anything about using the phrase “the whole nine yards”? Was it something you commonly heard? Did you hear it from some particular other person? Is there anything else you can say about the phrase?

Sincerely,

Wendell Wagner, Jr.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 01-31-2011, 04:25 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reno Nevada View Post
"Sheets" are not "bent" to "yards" on a sailing vessel; a sheet is a line leading to the lower corner of a sail. Any three-masted full-rigged ship from reasonably late in the age of sail would have had more than 9 yards; that would indicate a course, a topsail, and a t'gallent on each mast. In the 18th and 19th centuries most ships would have split topsails, split t'gallents, and likely a royal if not a skyscraper yard. The Flying Cloud looks to have had 15 yards.

And it is extremely unlikely that a phrase originating in sailing ships would first appear in the 1960's.
You didn't think that they sewed the whole length of the rope onto the bottom corrner of the sail did you? You have to bend the sails: in particular, you have to bend the sheet(s) onto the clew(s).

That is, you have to tie the sails to your masts, and attach control lines to the loose corners of your sails.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 01-31-2011, 02:50 PM
CurtC CurtC is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Interesting that yet another meaning of "yard" has come up here in this letter from Ms. Arnold and Mr. Wegner. Out of all the proposed origins of the phrase that have come up before, have any referred to "ship yards"? It's a new one on me, anyway, but I have to admit that I don't follow the topic as closely as some here do.
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 01-31-2011, 03:05 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Yes, there was a reference to a Navy report to Congress or some such that came up from IIRC WWII, where they were talking about getting the naval ship yards into production, and there being 9 naval shipyards. There was a passing reference to getting "all nine yards" working. IIRC.

So far it has been discounted because of timing (WWII, with no other related usage anywhere), and the nature of the quote. It's entirely possible that Wegner heard this explanation somewhere and is now repeating it. Part of the reason for wanting follow up questions.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 01-31-2011, 04:29 PM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
The phrase was used by Admiral Emory Land in April 1942 during testimony for a senate investigation of the national defense program. It's been cited before but I always took this to be a purely coincidental use of the phrase. It seems unlikely that senate sub-committee testimony would even make it's way into the popular vernacular. If it did it is still a mystery why it didn't appear in print anywhere for 20 more years.

Quote:
You have to increase from 7.72 to 12 for the average at the bottom of that fifth column, for the whole nine yards.
There's another known early use of the term from as far back as 1855 - a short story called The Judge's Big Shirt, which is also clearly coincidental.

Quote:
I told her to get just enough to make three shirts; instead of making three she has put the whole nine yards into one shirt!
Reply With Quote
  #61  
Old 01-31-2011, 05:31 PM
Zyada Zyada is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Foat Wuth!
Posts: 4,772
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
So far it has been discounted because of timing (WWII, with no other related usage anywhere), and the nature of the quote. It's entirely possible that Wegner heard this explanation somewhere and is now repeating it. Part of the reason for wanting follow up questions.
That brings up the question of "what does it take for a phrase to become a common idiom?" Consider the length of time between the production of the video for "Never gonna give you up" and the term rickrolling.

The 60s marks the maturation of the third of three major non-print forms of mass communication: movies, radio and TV. There were three movies just about the "Flying Tigers"* and who knows how many movies about WWII itself, as well as newsreels. In addition, the same M2 gun was used in a number of planes and in as a stand alone rifle, and that gun is still in use - so the phrase could have come out of the Korean war and been later attributed to the more popular war.

If it came from the nine shipyards, that phrase could have been used in a newsreel about bringing the shipyards up to speed. This, or newsreel footage about any one of the different military organizations using the M2 rifle may have been re-introduced to the public at large via an early 50s (1954, I think) TV series that was basically a overview of WWII using mostly newsreel footage.

I'm not saying that it is definitively the shipyards, or definitively the M2. But I don't think a twenty year time lag between the events that shaped the phrase and the first (known) print occurance.



*Ok, two movies about the fighting unit and one that used the unit's name in its script.
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 01-31-2011, 07:08 PM
Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
Tammi Terrell, I would rather not be the one to bother the Wegner family with too many E-mails. Is it possible for someone in the American Dialect Society Listserv to take over the communication with Arnold at this point?
I think you're doing fine, Wendell Wagner. The Wegner family seems interested in this little etymological mystery and I can't see that you're in danger of annoying anyone. Still, given that you're experiencing some discomfort over this, it's fine to bring in someone else.

I took the liberty of contacting Stephen Goranson (perhaps you've heard from him?), who discovered the Fall, 1962 sighting in "Man on the Thresh-hold" and who announced it on the American Dialect Society Listserv, and he confirmed that he had been trying to contact Prof. Wegner about the short story. Stephen's initial contact elicited no response. He recently tried again with an e-mail or two to folks at Alma College; one of these e-mail messages made its way to Judith Wegner Arnold. It took your contacting Prof. Wegner (and his daughter) to get the ball rolling, though. Apparently, there's some confusion about who's been sending letters and e-mails, but at least the lines of communication are now open, thanks to your effort here.

Stephen is following up with Prof. Wegner and his daughter, so perhaps he'll learn a bit more about how Prof. Wegner came to know the phrase. Incidentally, Stephen also first promoted Land's testimony about "the whole nine [ship]yards" as a possible source for the phrase, so he's quite interested in the reply you received from the Wegner family. I'm sure he'll report on whatever he learns from his further communications with Prof. Wegner.

Stephen reminded me that I had left out from the list in post #23 a 1965 sighting of "the whole nine yards." I'll update the list some other time, but here's the relevant data that's missing.

Quote:
Fall, 1965, "'the whole nine yards' as the teenagers say," in notes from the Class of '41 (West Point), http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R6912
Thanks for your help with this, Wendell Wagner.
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old 01-30-2012, 06:34 AM
Bart B. Bart B. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
I find these comments on the origin of the "9 yards" phrase most interesting. Having just been in a discussion about how it came about with several ex military folks, many of them believe it did originate with the length of aircraft machine gun belts. Some dating back to the WWI era's biplanes.

An on line search of WWI and WWII USA aircraft armament specs and "rounds per gun" for both 30 and 50 caliber came up with everything but 9 yards. Data observed ran from 5.2 to 39 yards; none at 9.0 yards.
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old 01-31-2012, 07:14 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Has anybody considered that 'yard' may refer to money? I first heard the term used to mean $100, but apparently it more commonly refers to $1000. Then looking this up I see that in Europe the term 'yard' is used as slang for 'milliard', apparently 1 billion.
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 01-31-2012, 07:51 PM
samclem samclem is offline
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,555
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Has anybody considered that 'yard' may refer to money? I first heard the term used to mean $100, but apparently it more commonly refers to $1000. Then looking this up I see that in Europe the term 'yard' is used as slang for 'milliard', apparently 1 billion.
Yeah, we've considered it. The money conotation is rather more recent.
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 02-06-2012, 08:42 AM
Patch Patch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
To me, the phrase brings to mind a sarcastic comment about a bad football player who couldn't score first downs.

"How's Davis do in the game yesterday?"

"Oh, he played flawlessly. He gave them the whole nine yards all afternoon."

Yeah, weak, but it's what I think about.
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 02-06-2012, 09:35 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 11,748
None of the early uses of "the whole nine yards" is part of a sentence in which someone gives the whole nine yards or takes the whole nine yards but rather one in which something is the whole nine yards.
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 02-06-2012, 09:54 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 23,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
To me, the phrase brings to mind a sarcastic comment about a bad football player who couldn't score first downs.

"How's Davis do in the game yesterday?"

"Oh, he played flawlessly. He gave them the whole nine yards all afternoon."

Yeah, weak, but it's what I think about.
I've also seen an "explanation" in which early football had nine yards instead of ten yards for a first down, so making a down was the whole nine yards.

The problem with both is that there's not a particle of evidence to back them up. They're both stories that people invent because putting a pattern on something seems better than ignorance even though it's based in ignorance and adds more. That's the whole nine yards of folk etymology.
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 02-07-2012, 06:56 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
Right Hand of the Master
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 15,722
MODERATOR ALERT: This thread has been idle for a year, until Bart B.'s comment (in post #63) reawakened it. That's fine, no problem, I just want to alert folks -- some of the people who made earlier comments may have forgot what they said, may not be around to reply, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 02-08-2012, 12:07 AM
Patch Patch is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
I've also seen an "explanation" in which early football had nine yards instead of ten yards for a first down, so making a down was the whole nine yards.

The problem with both is that there's not a particle of evidence to back them up. They're both stories that people invent because putting a pattern on something seems better than ignorance even though it's based in ignorance and adds more. That's the whole nine yards of folk etymology.
But it's fun to talk about.

And we're not stopping until this thread has gone the whole nine yards!

Or not. The thread is kinda petering out.

Last edited by Patch; 02-08-2012 at 12:10 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 02-08-2012, 06:44 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Hub of the sports world
Posts: 14,779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
Or not. The thread is kinda petering out.
Don't worry, a new thread with the same topic will show up, almost magically, in roughly 3 months. It's like clockwork.
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 08-05-2012, 11:24 AM
Tammi Terrell Tammi Terrell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 148
For what it's worth, here's an updated list showing newly found sightings (items 1 through 3) of "the whole nine yards." Item 7, a new entry for this list, was discovered last summer. Sadly, these sightings don't help to reveal what "nine yards" may have originally signified, but at least we can now push the phrase back in time a little.

1. July, 1956, "the whole nine-yards" in an article about a fishing competition, appearing in Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground (a magazine put out by Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources), http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R4219 and http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wo...le-nine-yards/

2. January, 1957, "the whole nine yards" in a column about camping, again in Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R4219 and http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wo...le-nine-yards/

3, March, 1962, "the entire nine yards" in a column about gearing up for fishing season, again in Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R4436

4. Fall, 1962, "the whole nine yards" and "the whole damn nine yards" in a short story appearing in a Michigan literary magazine, http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/1783/

5. December, 1962, "all nine yards of" in a letter to Car Life, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ads-l&P=R5767

6. April, 1964, "the whole nine yards" in a syndicated newspaper article about NASA slang, http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langu...es/004623.html

7. 1964, "the whole 'nine yards,' as they say, of exhaustive physiological tests," in Aerospace Pilot, a book written for the younger set, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ADS-L&P=R343

8. April, 1965, "the whole nine yards" in a newspaper article describing the completeness of a military training exercise, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R6101

9. Fall, 1965, "'the whole nine yards' as the teenagers say," in notes from the Class of '41 (West Point), http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R6912

10. December, 1965, "the whole nine yards" used to describe well-outfitted military uniforms, in a newspaper article, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...=ADS-L&P=R2892

11. June, 1966, "the whole nine yards" in a newspaper article describing a collection of Indiana folklore, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ads-l&P=6810

12. September, 1966, "the nine yards of" at a symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ads-l&P=5152

13. September, 1966, multiple instances of "the whole nine yards" in Wings of the Tiger: A Novel, http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...&F=&S=&P=15082

14. 1966 (published early 1967), multiple instances of "the whole nine yards" (and variants) in Doom Pussy, e.g., http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi...L=ads-l&P=3120 and http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php...ine_yards_the/ (Is there a concise listing elsewhere of all examples to be found in Doom Pussy?)
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 08-06-2012, 05:28 AM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester
"good margin" "close second"
Could be that it was close to third place, though that wouldn't be standard usage.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 08-06-2012, 06:42 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Troynovant
Posts: 5,086
Thanks for the updates, Tammi. Like so many others I'm engrossed by the hunt for the origins of this phrase and that interview with Ron Rhody who authored the 1957 article using the whole nine yards was absolutely fascinating.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.