(WYTV)- To say someone is “dressed to the nines” is to say this person is dressed to perfection, everything works.
But we were saying something was “to the nines” a hundred years before we added clothes to it so where did it originate?
And why nines? Language experts say it came from Scotland in the 1700’s.
The Scottish National Dictionary speculates that the phrase comes from the game of ninepins where nine is the maximum score possible on any one throw. Examples of things coming in nines appear in myth and history all over the world.
In Christianity, the Holy Spirit comes bearing nine fruits and nine gifts. The ancient Greeks had nine muses, nine goddesses to inspire you.
In Europe during the Middle Ages, the Nine Worthies from history were men of chivalry…from Julius Caesar to King Arthur to Charlemagne, and so on. So “nine” has a special significance in the English language, as in “cloud nine” and “the whole nine yards.”
Then we have a completely different explanation: The phrase “to the nines” is thought to be a variation of the earlier phrase “to the eyes,” which means to the highest degree or to perfection.
We really don’t know.
“Dressed to the nines” dates from the mid-19th century. Some suggest it came from the British 99th Regiment, which as always dressed very smartly.