whole ball of wax, the

whole ball of wax, the

Also, the whole enchilada or shooting match or shebang . Everything, all the elements, the entire affair. For example, The union demanded higher wages, a pension plan, job security-the whole ball of wax, or The contract includes paperback rights, film rights, electronic media-the whole enchilada, or She lost her job, her pension, her health-care coverage, the whole shooting match. Not all the allusions in these slangy terms are clear. Ball of wax may refer to a 17th-century English legal practice whereby land was divided among heirs by covering scraps of paper representing portions of land with wax, rolling each into a ball, and drawing the balls from a hat. An enchilada combines several foods inside a tortilla; a shooting match denotes a shooting competition; and a shebang is a rude hut or shelter. The first two of these slangy terms date from the second half of the 1900s, the last two from the late 1800s. For synonyms, see whole kit and caboodle; whole megillah.
See also: ball, of, whole
References in periodicals archive ?
Tony, 100 per cent is everything, the maximum, the grand total, the whole ball of wax, the works, the full monty, the whole shooting match, the whole kit and caboodle, the percentage than which there can be no higher.
I sometimes picture Gordon Brown lecturing Blair, again in John Cleese/Monty Python style: "Tony, 100 per cent is everything, the maximum, the grand total, the whole ball of wax, the works, the full Monty, the whole shooting match, the whole kit and caboodle, the percentage than which there can be no higher.