The Whole Nine Yards Meaning with Useful Examples

Last Updated on December 29, 2020

“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

The Whole Nine Yards | Picture

The Whole Nine Yards Pin

2 thoughts on “The Whole Nine Yards Meaning with Useful Examples”

  1. The bullets for the machine guns used in American combat planes of WW2 and since were in chains twenty-seven feet in length. Thus if a pilot was able to fire all his bullets off at one target he was said to have given his adversary ‘the full nine yards’.

  2. Hi, I know that the origin of the idiom ‘the whole six/nine yards’ is a mystery but I do have a possible option. With India still an English colony in the early 1900, the English used the length of a standard indian saree (the outfit that’s draped around the body) 6 meters or yards or the traditional 9 meters or yards as the idiom. Indians fuss over the length of the saree as It is a very important aspect while choosing the right saree that it should be a full 6/9 yards in measurement otherwise its not considered right. Maybe that’s where the idiom came from.


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