- a common unit of linear measure in English-speaking countries, equal to 3 feet or 36 inches, and equivalent to 0.9144 meter.
- Nautical. a long spar, supported more or less at its center, to which the head of a square sail, lateen sail, or lugsail is bent.
- Informal. a large quantity or extent.
- Slang. one hundred or, usually, one thousand dollars.
- the whole nine yards, Informal.
- everything that is pertinent, appropriate, or available.
- in all ways; in every respect; all the way: If you want to run for mayor, I'll be with you the whole nine yards.
Origin of yard1
- a unit of length equal to 3 feet and defined in 1963 as exactly 0.9144 metreAbbreviation: yd
- a cylindrical wooden or hollow metal spar, tapered at the ends, slung from a mast of a square-rigged or lateen-rigged vessel and used for suspending a sail
- short for yardstick (def. 2)
- put in the hard yards Australian informal to make a great effort to achieve an end
- the whole nine yards informal everything that is required; the whole thing
- a piece of enclosed ground, usually either paved or laid with concrete and often adjoining or surrounded by a building or buildings
- an enclosed or open area used for some commercial activity, for storage, etca railway yard
- (in combination)a brickyard; a shipyard
- a US and Canadian word for garden (def. 1)
- an area having a network of railway tracks and sidings, used for storing rolling stock, making up trains, etc
- US and Canadian the winter pasture of deer, moose, and similar animals
- Australian and NZ an enclosed area used to draw off part of a herd, etc
- NZ short for saleyard, stockyard
- to draft (animals), esp to a saleyard
- the Yard British informal short for Scotland Yard
Word Origin and History for whole nine yards
by 1970, of unknown origin; perhaps arbitrary (cf. cloud nine). Among the guesses that have been made without real evidence: concrete mixer trucks were said to have dispensed in this amount. Or the yard may be in the slang sense of "one hundred dollars."
Several similar phrases meaning "everything" arose in the 1940s (whole ball of wax, which is likewise of obscure origin, whole schmear); older examples include whole hog (see hog (n.)) and whole shooting match (1896); whole shebang (1895).
"ground around a house," Old English geard "enclosure, garden, court, house, yard," from Proto-Germanic *garda (cf. Old Norse garðr "enclosure, garden, yard;" Old Frisian garda, Dutch gaard, Old High German garto, German Garten "garden;" Gothic gards "house," garda "stall"), from PIE *gharto-, from root *gher- "to grasp, enclose" (cf. Old English gyrdan "to gird," Sanskrit ghra- "house," Albanian garth "hedge," Latin hortus "garden," Phrygian -gordum "town," Greek khortos "pasture," Old Irish gort "field," Breton garz "enclosure, garden," and second element in Latin cohors "enclosure, yard, company of soldiers, multitude").
Lithuanian gardas "pen, enclosure," Old Church Slavonic gradu "town, city," and Russian gorod, -grad "town, city" belong to this group, but linguists dispute whether they are independent developments or borrowings from Germanic. Yard sale is attested by 1976. Middle English yerd "yard-land" (mid-15c.) was a measure of about 30 acres.
measure of length, Old English gerd (Mercian), gierd (West Saxon) "rod, stick, measure of length," from West Germanic *gazdijo, from Proto-Germanic *gazdaz "stick, rod" (cf. Old Saxon gerda, Old Frisian ierde, Dutch gard "rod;" Old High German garta, German gerte "switch, twig," Old Norse gaddr "spike, sting, nail"), from PIE *gherdh- "staff, pole" (cf. Latin hasta "shaft, staff"). The nautical yardarm retains the original sense of "stick."
Originally in Anglo-Saxon times a land measure of roughly 5 meters (a length later called rod, pole, or perch). Modern measure of "three feet" is attested from late 14c. (earlier rough equivalent was the ell of 45 inches, and the verge). In Middle English, the word also was a euphemism for "penis" (cf. "Love's Labour's Lost," V.ii.676). Slang meaning "one hundred dollars" first attested 1926, American English.
- A unit of length in the US Customary System equal to 3 feet or 36 inches (0.91 meter). See Table at measurement.