Full monty (phrase)

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The full monty is a British slang phrase of uncertain origin. It is generally used to mean "everything which is necessary, appropriate, or possible; ‘the works’",[1] and has been in common usage in the north of England for many years; the 1982 Yellow Pages for Manchester listed both a "Full Monty Chippy" and a "Fullmonty Chippy".[2] A US equivalent might be the phrase "the whole nine yards", "the whole ball of wax", "the whole enchilada", or "the whole shebang".

Since the 1997 film The Full Monty, which features a group of men in Sheffield learning to strip, the phrase has acquired an additional usage meaning removing every item of clothing.[1]

Possible origins of the phrase include:[3]

  • rigorous training by Field Marshal Montgomery: 'We suddenly knew that we were going to be put through the full Monty treatment.'[2]
  • the large breakfasts eaten by Field Marshal Montgomery.[4]
  • the huge Eighth Army commanded by Field Marshal Montgomery during the desert campaign in WWII.
  • a full three-piece suit with waistcoat and a spare pair of trousers (as opposed to a standard two-piece suit) from the Leeds-based British tailors Montague Burton. When the British forces were demobilised after WWII, they were issued with a "demob suit". The contract for supplying these suits was fulfilled by Montague Burton, so the complete suit of clothes issued to the servicemen was known as "the full Monty".[5]
  • gamblers’ jargon meaning the entire kitty or pot, deriving from the card game called monte[3]


  1. ^ a b "full monty, n. (and adj.)" Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2001. 
  2. ^ a b "1983/1984 "the full Monty" antedating". listserv.linguistlist.org. 25 Sep 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Quinion, Michael. "World Wide Words: The Full Monty". worldwidewords.org. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "It's in the dictionary, d'oh!". BBC News. 14 June 2001. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
  5. ^ Jeeves (2010-12-11). ""Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club: The "DEMOB" Suit and the developement (sic) of mass production in tailoring". Tweedlandthegentlemansclub.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-09-09.