nine

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Nov 14, 2021.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Nine appears in expressions 'the whole nine yards' and 'dressed to the nines'. Why 'nine'? Are there other such expressions?
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    This one has a contentious origin. An oft referenced one is that machine guns in WWII fighters has bullet chains that were 27 feet long long and to open up on an enemy was to "give him the hole nine yards".

    Certainly.
    Challenge: find an expression for every integer. How many can you get?

    Third time's a charm.
    Six sheets to the wind.
    Seventh Heaven.
    Dime-a-dozen.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Two's company.
    I'll give it five.
    He's one over the eight
    Nineteen to the dozen
    Er......someone else have a go.......
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You can't just make them up!

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    She went "all elevens".
    You just need "a fourteen".
    "A seventeen in the bonnet".

    See?
     
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Number 9 is an amazing number; if the number 9 is multiplied by any number of single-digit, after adding together the two digits of the product always get 9. For example: 9x3 = 27 = 2 + 7 = 9; 9x9 = 81 = 8 + 1 = 9; 9x5 = 45 = 4 + 5 = 9 and so forth.

    ..........................
     
  9. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Four!
     
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  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    There is a world outside Canuckistan, you know.

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    Look 'em up. They do exist.
     
  11. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    1,006
    A right two and eight.
    Old Cockney rhyming slang for getting into a state.

    Sixes and sevens.
    A state of confusion or mess.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Fourth Wall
    Four Letter Words
    Four Corners of the Earth
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    ??

    Or do you mean, as in:-

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    Normally that's spelt "Phwoarr!"

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    (Gabrielle Drake, in UFO, circa 1970).
     
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  14. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    This isn't the case.
    Even ignoring the links AND the cartridge diameter, it's easy to disprove.
    50 cal ammunition = 1/2" diameter - that's 24 per foot. 9 yards of ammo would be 648 rounds.
    The P47 had 4 guns with 300 rounds per gun (rpg) = nearly twice that value.
    P51 had 500 rpg for the inner guns and 270 rpg for the four outer guns = 2080 rounds.
    Spits had ~350 rpg for the 8 (smaller calibre) guns = 2800 rounds at 0.303" bullet diameter = 23.5 yards excluding cartridge cases and links.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    16,745
    Yup. I said the origin is contentious. I've heard other explanations too (a nine yard bolt of cloth) but, as I said, the jury's out.

    Still, I think your dismissal is a bit hasty. We don't really know what guns - never mind what machine they were attached to - may have started the saying. And it may just as easily be my fault for misremembering. For example, someone elseweb has suggested a Gatling gun. I'm not sure how you can be sure unless you've ruled out all likely culprits.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2021
  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    So we should probably 86 that explanation.
     
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  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Or at least those three specific examples...
     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    The phrase predates WW2, so you can absolutely rule out anything that claims the origin to be from WW2 or after.

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    Heck, it seems to predate WW1 as well.

    Reference to the length of cloth seems quite plausible (putting "the whole nine yards" into one garment, meaning to put everything into it) but, as you say, there's no consensus. There are also variations, most notably "the whole six yards" but unfortunately that may not help identify the actual origin any easier. It may suggest that it is somehow linked to "dressed to the nines", though?
     
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    OK, that meets my criteria for conclusive.

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  20. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    'Whole nine yards' and 'dressed to the nines' being connected sounds plausible.
     
  21. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    I was thinking of the sounds in golf, not the spelling

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    Believe you me! I screw up sometimes.
     
  22. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Oh I see. Apologies. Sex is occasionally a theme in your posts and I jumped to the wrong conclusion!

    I think golfers shout "Fore!" before they brain you with a golf ball at 150mph.
     
  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't the spelling FORE?

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