What is the origin of the term " the whole nine yard"
How was the phrase derived?
"The whole nine yards" crops up in many contexts, which isn't surprising, as there are many things that can be measured in linear, square or cubic yards - and there are also yard-arms, steelyards etc. to account for. This is the source of the variability of the many plausible, but of course mostly incorrect, explanations of the phrase's origin. Regrettably, plausibility doesn't get us very far, as the following will show. The early citations of the phrase don't in fact refer to yards of any particular material, just to a non-specific measure - 'yards'.
One of the most common explanations for the phrase's origin is that the
expression dates from the Second World War, where "nine yards" was the
length of an aircraft machine-gun ammunition belt, and to "go the full
nine yards" was to use it up entirely. However, machine-gun ammunition
belts were not nine yards long, and the expression has been reliably
dated back only to early 1964, in U.S. Space Program slang. It was