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  • Writer's pictureadam thompson

The Whole Nine Yards

The phrase "the whole nine yards" is a popular English idiom that refers to giving something your all or going the extra mile. It is frequently used when someone is asked to do something and responds by saying that they will do everything in their power to make it happen.


Despite its widespread use, the origin of this phrase is still a subject of debate. There are several theories about where the term came from, and no one is entirely sure which one is correct.



According to one popular theory, the phrase originated during WWII, when fighter pilots would fly missions with nine yards of ammunition in their planes. If they fired all nine yards of ammo, it meant they gave it their all and did everything they could to complete the mission.


It’s possible it also originated in the fashion industry in the mid-19th century. When a tailor makes a suit, it takes nine yards of fabric to complete the entire outfit. As a result, if someone wanted the "whole nine yards," they needed the entire suit, which included a jacket, pants, and vest (for your curious fashionistas).


Yet another theory is that the phrase comes from American gridiron football. Supposedly, in the early days of the game, the field was only 90 yards long. (This one holds a bit of contention with football history fans) If a team could move the ball the full ninety yards to score a touchdown, they had given it their all and had completed the "whole nine yards."



Regardless of its origin, "the whole nine yards" has become a staple of the English language, used in a variety of contexts to describe someone who is going all out to achieve something. Going the whole nine yards is like ordering a pizza with every possible topping - you're committing to the fullest extent possible. It's like playing a game of chess with all the pieces on the board - you're not holding back. It's like wearing a full suit of armor to a pillow fight - you're ready for anything.


So, when life presents you with a challenge, don't hold back, go the whole nine yards and give it everything you've got!


-ajt



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