interesting origins of terms

The whole nine yards

Meaning: A complete job, quality, without cutting corners.

Example: My new car has air conditioning, power windows, power locks, the whole nine yards.

Origin: a tailor making a high quality suit uses more fabric. The best suits are made from nine yards of fabric.

This may seem like a lot but a proper suit does indeed take nine yards of fabric. This is because a good suit has all the fabric cut in the same direction with the warp, or long strands of thread, parallel with the vertical line of the suit. This causes a great amount of waste in suit making, but if you want to go “the whole nine yards”, you must pay for such waste.

See the related phrase, “dressed to the nines”.

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