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  #21  
Old 14 January 2013, 05:01 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
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"Fresh Air" (from NPR) will be broadcasting a story today about the etymology of "The Whole Nine Yards," see:

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/11/169140...-yards-of-what

Nick
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  #22  
Old 16 January 2013, 07:07 AM
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Jaded The Whole Nine Yards, Continued …

Last week’s article about recent discoveries relating to the origins of the mysterious phrase “the whole nine yards” drew a huge number of online comments, most of them from people whose certainty about their own pet theories was matched only by their total lack of supporting evidence.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...rds-continued/
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  #23  
Old 16 January 2013, 04:14 PM
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Why do you suppose people find the answer "we don't know" so hard to accept in connection with this phrase? There are others with similarly obscure origins but no one seems to care that we don't know about them.

Seaboe
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  #24  
Old 16 January 2013, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Why do you suppose people find the answer "we don't know" so hard to accept in connection with this phrase? There are others with similarly obscure origins but no one seems to care that we don't know about them.

Seaboe
That is a puzzlement to me!
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  #25  
Old 16 January 2013, 04:51 PM
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Okay, I got it:

In the seventeenth century, a pirate led his crew when they attacked and boarded a British merchantman. There were sixteen men in the pirate crew; seven stayed aboard their barque whilst nine swung aboard the merchantman. The captain had told them all to scream at the British crewmen to terrify them.

It worked. The frightened merchant crew dropped their weapons, the pirates looted the ship and went back aboard the pirate vessel, and the captain congratulated his men: "Ahh, me hearties, we got us a fine pile o' booty. An' it's all due to your yellin'. As I told ye before, no merchant crew can resist the whole nine yarrrrs."
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  #26  
Old 16 January 2013, 05:11 PM
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One more pun like that, and I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to stand closer to the rhino.
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  #27  
Old 16 January 2013, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgeek View Post
One more pun like that, and I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to stand closer to the rhino.
Not *choke* the rhino!
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  #28  
Old 16 January 2013, 06:28 PM
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Which now sounds like a euphemism (and bragging, too!), thank you ever so much.

ETA:And really, now... isn't the proper construction: "Good Lord! *choke* Not the rhino!"?
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  #29  
Old 28 January 2013, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I can't hold back any longer. Pluto was not discovered until well after Napolean's time, so it could not have been used to plot his future.

Ahhhhhhhh..........
Dang! I should have caught that myself! As a matter of fact, it seems like not even Neptune was properly discovered until 1846.
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  #30  
Old 26 September 2014, 12:50 PM
Elkhound Elkhound is offline
 
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I always thought that it referred to the length of a shroud.
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  #31  
Old 26 September 2014, 01:58 PM
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I think I can confidently say that the definitive answer is:

"We don't know."

Seaboe
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  #32  
Old 26 September 2014, 03:22 PM
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In the British Navy of Napoleon's time, the most popular ship was the 74 gun frigate, which had 3 masts. Each mast was held up by 3 ropes, called yards by the crusty sea-dogs; two taut to each side and one to the next mast, on to the back, to secure it against the pressure of the wind. A ship going with all sail unfurled was said to be giving it "the whole nine yards" because all the ship's yards were straining to hold.

How did I do?

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  #33  
Old 26 September 2014, 03:46 PM
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A 74-gun would be a ship of the line, not a frigate. And no need to limit the story to a 74-gunner, anything "ship-rigged" had three masts so any frigate or ship of the line would count. Also, there are no ropes on a sailing ship, they are lines, rigging, or halyards. And even in the grosses of definitions, there would be more than 9 sets of standing rigging on a 3 masted ship. Each mast would have a forestay (to the front), a backstay (to the rear) and two sets of shrouds (sides). Even counting the backstay of a mast as the forestay of the one behind it results in 10 stays.

But the biggest issue with that story is that a yard is the spar standing sideways from the mast that a square sails hangs upon, it is not a stay.

ETA: There may be ships that have 9 yards (IE, 9 square sails), but that doesn't seem to be common. Most three-masted vessels of the era would have at least 12 yards, and the brigs probably would have 6 or 8 yards.

Last edited by GenYus234; 26 September 2014 at 03:54 PM.
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  #34  
Old 26 September 2014, 06:56 PM
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Back when there was a viable mining industry in the UK, as well as adit mines, pit mines, quarries and so on, the most basic type of mine was just a hole. People didn't like working in a hole, so the managers hired singers to cheer them up and improve morale.

These singers became pretty good, which is why Welsh and Cornish male voice choirs are renowned even today. So whenever visiting dignitaries came along, choral performances were staged to impress the visitors.

It was said that the visitors had been given "the hole-mine bards". Obviously the phrase has been distorted over time.
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