- a cardinal number, eight plus one.
- a symbol for this number, as 9 or IX.
- a set of this many persons or things.
- a baseball team.
- a playing card with nine pips.
- the Nine, the Muses.
- amounting to nine in number.
- dressed to the nines, looking one's best; dressed smartly, splendidly, etc.: All the girls were dressed to the nines for the party.
Origin of nine
Examples from the Web for nines
Like the other speakers, Adams recalled a dedicated friend, and one who was always dressed to the nines.I Was There: Inside Joan Rivers’ Funeral
September 8, 2014
By 5:30 p.m., the band members emerge—dressed to the nines—and assume their position.A Day in the Life of The Roots' Questlove
December 9, 2011
It is up to the viewer to respond to who they are and, perhaps, to imagine why they are dressed to the nines.Breaking Barriers in African Photography
August 4, 2010
He was clean-shaven, sweet-smelling, and dressed to the nines.Exclusive Excerpt: MLK's Haunting Final Hours
April 24, 2010
It is but three nines or three knaves, or a mixture of them.Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters
William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh
Gordon nodded, and she threw her hand upon the table; it held four nines.Mountain Blood
I said, "All these nines clearly point to your living to ninety-nine."Impressions of a War Correspondent
And the Nines would become their hopeless and abject slaves.The Hungry Stones And Other Stories
Leonardo also introduces the method of proof by casting out the nines.The Earliest Arithmetics in English
- the cardinal number that is the sum of one and eightSee also number (def. 1)
- a numeral, 9, IX, etc, representing this number
- something representing, represented by, or consisting of nine units, such as a playing card with nine symbols on it
- Also: nine o'clock nine hours after noon or midnightthe play starts at nine
- dressed to the nines or dressed up to the nines informal elaborately dressed
- 999 (in Britain) the telephone number of the emergency services
- nine to five normal office hourshe works nine to five; a nine-to-five job
- amounting to ninenine days
- (as pronoun)nine of the ten are ready
Word Origin and History for nines
in phrase to the nines "to perfection" (1787) first attested in Burns, apparently preserves the ancient notion of the perfection of the number as three times three (e.g. the nine Muses, etc.
[T]he Book of St. Albans, in the sections on blasonry, lays great stress on the nines in which all perfect things (orders of angels, virtues, articles of chivalry, differences of coat armour, etc.) occur. [Weekley]
No one seems to consider that it might be a corruption and misdivision of to then anes, literally "for the one (purpose or occasion)," a similar construction to the one that yielded nonce (q.v.).
Old English nigen, from Proto-Germanic *niwun (cf. Old Saxon nigun, Old Frisian niugun, Old Norse niu, Swedish nio, Middle Dutch neghen, Dutch negen, Old High German niun, German neun, Gothic niun "nine"), from PIE newn "nine" (cf. Sanskrit nava, Avestan nava, Greek ennea, Albanian nende, Latin novem (with change of -n- to -m- by analogy of septem, decem), Lithuanian devnyi, Old Church Slavonic deveti (the Balto-Slavic forms by dissimilation of -n- to -d-), Old Irish noin, Welsh naw).
Nine to five "the average workday" is attested from 1935. Nine days has been proverbial since 14c. for the time which a wonder or novelty holds attention.