# Thread: The whole nine yards

1. ## The whole nine yards

What does 'yards' mean in the idiomatic expression 'The whole nine yards' - a place, a measure,
or something another?

2. ## Re: The whole nine yards

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_whole_nine_yards

Its origin is unknown and has been described as "the most prominent etymological riddle of our time."[2]

3. ## Re: The whole nine yards

I have read the article, but what does a native speaker associate 'yards' with - with a site or with a measure?

4. ## Re: The whole nine yards

Originally Posted by Explorer
What does 'yards' mean in the idiomatic expression 'The whole nine yards' - a place, a measure,
or something another?
More on "whole nine yards" here: http://www.word-detective.com/back-s.html#yards

5. ## Re: The whole nine yards

Originally Posted by Explorer
I have read the article, but what does a native speaker associate 'yards' with - with a site or with a measure?
Usually an amount.

6. ## Re: The whole nine yards

I associate it with a measure. A yard is 3 feet or about 0.9 meters.

7. ## Re: The whole nine yards

Originally Posted by SoothingDave
I associate it with a measure. A yard is 3 feet or about 0.9 meters.
In general, yes, but not in "whole nine yards".

8. ## Re: The whole nine yards

Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
In general, yes, but not in "whole nine yards".
If we don't really know the origin of the phrase, then we can't really say for sure what the "yards" are. But I do think of them as a unit of measure.

Obviously, the phrase is not used literally so I don't expect "the whole 9 yards" of something to be 27 feet of something.

9. ## Re: The whole nine yards

You need to think of the "yards" in "the whole nine yards" the same way you think of the "bucket" in "kick the bucket."

There are no real yards. There is no real bucket.
They are idioms and they mean what they mean. Breaking them down into their parts will not help you understand them any more. As far as what else I have to say on this, I've already given you the whole enchilada.

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