The full monty (phrase)

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A Second World War British soldier selects a jacket for his "demob suit". These suits are one of the possible origins of the phrase

The full monty (or 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] It has been in common usage in the North of England at least since the early 1980s as the 1982 Yellow Pages for Manchester lists fish and chip shops called the "Full Monty Chippy" and the "Fullmonty Chippy".[2] A US equivalent might be the phrase "the works", "the whole nine yards", "the whole ball of wax", "the whole enchilada", "the whole shebang" or "the whole hog".

Since the 1997 release of the film The Full Monty, which features a group of men in Sheffield learning to become striptease performers, the phrase has also come to mean a person removing every item of their 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]
  • Montgomery's alleged insistence on his troops eating a full English breakfast every day, in order to be ready for battle.[4]
  • The huge full-strength and well equipped Eighth Army commanded by Field Marshal Montgomery during the desert campaign in the Second World War.
  • 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 the Second World War, they were issued with a "demob suit". The contract for supplying these suits was partly fulfilled by Montague Burton.[citation needed]
  • 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. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "1983/1984 "the full Monty" antedating". 25 Sep 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Quinion, Michael. "World Wide Words: The Full Monty". Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "It's in the dictionary, d'oh!". BBC News. 14 June 2001. Retrieved 2010-08-18.