“The whole nine yards” is an idiomatic phrase that is used quite often during everyday communication. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase and the story behind its origin. You will also find examples of how this phrased is used properly in everyday conversations/statements and find other ways to express this phrase in more literal terms.
The Whole Nine Yards
The Whole Nine Yards Meaning
The idiom “the whole nine yards” means explaining everything about something or going above and beyond.
Origin of this idiomatic expression
The origin of the phrase has been a debate in recent years. The phrase itself is believed to be derived from the phrase “the whole six yards” which dates back to 1912 where it was seen twice within a news article. It is believed that over time the number was simply inflated to “the whole nine yards”, but both phrases have the same meaning.
“The Whole Nine Yards” Examples
Examples in Statements
A statement in the local newspaper.
- “The firefighters went the whole nine yards concerning their efforts to save the family involved in the house fire that occurred last night.”
A statement in a popular magazine.
- “Going the whole nine yards to impress your wife this holiday season is sure to get a smile.”
Examples in Conversations
A conversation between two friends.
- Friend 1: What did you all do for your anniversary last night?
- Friend 2: Oh, it was so sweet! Jonathan went the whole nine yards and got us reservations at the most expensive restaurant in the city and then he got on one knee and proposed to me!
A conversation between two co-workers.
- Co-worker 1: Wow! I am amazed at how well the project turned out.
- Co-worker 2: Why are you so shocked? The team went the whole nine yards and that’s why it was so successful!
Other Ways to Say “The Whole Nine Yards”
There are many ways to say “the whole nine yards” using literal terms. You could say:
- She/he went above and beyond
- His/her efforts were over the top
- He/she explained everything in detail