To the nines
"To the nines" is an English idiom meaning "to perfection" or "to the highest degree". In modern English usage, the phrase most commonly appears as "dressed to the nines" or "dressed up to the nines".
The bonny Lines therein thou sent me,
How to the nines they did content me.
Thou paints auld nature to the nines,
In thy sweet Caledonian lines.
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (New and Revised edition. 1981) states that the phrase is 'perhaps a corruption of 'then eyne' (to the eyes)"
The learned tribe whose works the World do bless,
Finish those works in some recess;
Both the Philosopher and Divine,
And Poets most who still make their address
In private to the Nine.
- Evans, Bergen; Cornelia Evans (1957). A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage. Random House. p. 145.
- "'Dressed to the nines' comes from old Scottish phrase". Deseret News. April 13, 1997. Retrieved 13 November 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "'Dressed to the nines' - the meaning and origin of this phrase". Phrasefinder. Retrieved 12 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)