dressed to the nines

(redirected from dressed up to the nines)

dressed to the nines

Very well dressed and fashionable, typically for a formal event. I have to be dressed to the nines at this gala tonight—a lot of important people will be there. The whole family will be dressed to the nines at the wedding, I'll make sure of it.
See also: dress, nine, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

dressed to the nines

 and dressed to the teeth
Fig. dressed very stylishly with nothing overlooked. She showed up for the picnic dressed to the nines. Clare is usually dressed to the teeth in order to impress people.
See also: dress, nine, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dressed to the nines

or

dressed up to the nines

If someone is dressed to the nines or is dressed up to the nines, they are wearing very smart or glamorous clothes. Everyone is dressed to the nines. Huge hats, frills, tight dresses, sequins and high heels. Lola was off to a party, all dressed up to the nines. Note: You can also say that someone is done up to the nines. It felt like a wedding, with everyone done up to the nines. Note: There have been many explanations offered for the origin of this expression. Most relate to the number nine in some way, but none has been generally accepted.
See also: dress, nine, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

dressed (up) to the nines

dressed very smartly or elaborately.
This expression may come from the 99th Wiltshire Regiment, a military unit who were noted for their smart appearance.
See also: dress, nine, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

dressed (up) to the ˈnines

(informal) wearing very elegant or formal clothes, especially to attract attention: She was dressed up to the nines in her furs and jewellery.
See also: dress, nine, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

dressed to the nines

and dressed to the teeth
mod. dressed very stylishly with nothing overlooked. (see also the whole nine yards for the nine.) She always goes out dressed to the nines. Clare is usually dressed to the teeth in order to impress people.
See also: dress, nine, to
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

dressed to kill/to the nines

Very fashionably attired. The first expression is a nineteenth-century Americanism. It appears in print in E. G. Paige’s Dow’s Patent Sermons, ca. 1849 (“A gentleman tiptoeing along Broadway, with a lady wiggle-waggling by his side, and both dressed to kill”). The precise analogy is no longer known. “Kill” may allude to the idea of making a conquest, or perhaps it is an extension of something “done to death”—that is, overdone. Dressed to the nines, also put as dressed up to the nines, is British in origin and literally means elaborately dressed to perfection. The “nines” were singled out to signify “superlative” in numerous other contexts from the late eighteenth century on, but no one is quite sure why. Some say it is because nine, as the highest single-digit number, symbolizes the best. Today, however, it is the numeral ten that signifies the best (as, for example, in Olympics judging). Other writers suggest that nines is a corruption of “to then eyne”—that is, to the eyes—but this interpretation doesn’t make much sense either. Describing an old department store holding its final sale before closing and lavishly decorated for Christmas, Mary Cantwell observed that “the corpse was dressed to the nines” (New York Times, Dec. 1989).
See also: dress, kill, nine, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

dressed to the nines

Wearing fashionably elegant clothing. History fails to offer a definitive explanation for this phrase. Among those that have been advanced are emulating the Nine Worthies of the ancient world, the British Army's 99th Foot Regiment's smart uniform, the nine buttons on a medieval woman's gloves, and the nine muses. Whatever the real derivation, we can agree that “nine” has a special significance in the English language, as in “cloud nine” and “the whole nine yards.”
See also: dress, nine, to
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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