pdclarry writes "I'm sure all of us wonder where "the whole nine yards" expression came from, and many of us have argued one or more of the hypotheses (WW II ammo belt length, American football reference, fabric in a kilt, capacity of a transit mixer...). Well, the latest research now says that it has no origin. (paywall warning): The NY Times covers the story, referencing the Yale Alumni Magazine source.
Interesting discovery is that there's been phrase inflation (it was originally "The Whole Six Yards") and that it has no specific reference in real life. Of course, this most recent discovery probably will not end the argument that Linguist Ben Zimmer says is “something of a Holy Grail among word sleuths.” Indeed, there are already new hypotheses posted in comments to the Yale Alumni Magazine article."