that's what I always thought Dinkydow.
But picking up my new suit from my Taylor for a wedding
he says "Yeah, it's ready. Gave you the whole nine yards."
Hmm! Heard that phrase 3 times in one day by various working stiffs. So I thought where did this term come from exactly?
Hell I use it as slang too.
From another site:
What does the saying "the whole nine yards" mean and where did it come from?
Plainview, New York
The phrase "the whole nine yards" is commonly used to mean "everything" or "all the way" as in, "This new minivan has a cell phone, dual climate controls, and a dashboard PEZ dispenser -- the whole nine yards." It's sort of like "the whole ball of wax" or "the whole enchilada."
As far as the origin is concerned, that's a bit more difficult to discern. We made the rounds of our Etymology category (under Social Sciences > Linguistics and Languages) and dutifully perused the sites that deal with the history of slang expressions.
Our first stop, Wilton's Word and Phrase Origins, did indeed have an entry devoted to "the whole nine yards," but it offers only theories, no conclusions. Some of the suggested possibilities include: nine yards as the length of cloth needed for a particular garment, nine yards as the length of a machine-gun ammunition belt, and nine yards as the amount of cement held in a typical cement-mixer. Unfortunately, Wilton also notes that these theories are chock full of holes.
Next up was Jesse's Word of the Day, a daily column by Jesse Sheidlower, Senior Editor of Random House's Reference Department. Last November, Jesse tackled the question of "the whole nine yards" and his very succinct answer was "I don't know." He does offer some of the same theories as Wilton, and, in the process, shoots them down. Plus he gives some bonus possibilities: football, ship sails, burial shrouds. We particularly enjoyed Jesse's discussion of the logic involved in debunking these theories.
Finally, when all else fails, we look to the masses for truly outlandish hypotheses. A quick search of DejaNews, the Usenet discussion search engine, lead us to a spirited debate by the denizens of alt.books.david-weber (a sci-fi author). The latest theory seems to be that nine yards is the amount of fabric required to make a Scotsman's kilt.
So we're afraid that the current Internet verdict on the origin of "the whole nine yards" is a resounding "Who knows?"