nine tailors make a man

nine tailors make a man

1. A phrase spoken after the custom of ringing church bells for a deceased male. The number of times the bells rang traditionally indicated the deceased person's sex, with a male receiving nine "tellers," or tolls, of the bell. A: "Did you hear the bells ringing?" B: "I did. Nine tailors make a man."
2. The phrase was also used to mock tailors as frail and ineffectual, in comparison to the average man. You will certainly best him in a duel. He's a tailor, after all, and nine tailors make a man!
See also: make, man, nine, tailor