Friday, March 10, 2017

The Absence of Evidence

Nine continues to be part of our investigations today.  We know that 'dressed to the nines' means to be dressed flamboyantly.   What is the origin of this phrase.  From comes this most interesting explanation

"Nine is the most troublesome number in etymology. There are several phrases of uncertain parentage that include the word. Examples are,  cloud ninenine days' wonder and the infamous whole nine yards. We can add 'dressed to the nines' to that list."

There is no proof of the origins however frequent the repetition of the derivation of the phrase:  "One theory has it that tailors used nine yards of material to make a suit (or, according to some authors, a shirt). The more material you had the more kudos you accrued, although nine yards seems generous even for a fop."

So the conclusion: "It seems clear that 'the Nine' that Rawlett was referring to were the Nine Muses. It is just as clear that 'dressed to the nines' is merely an extension of 'to the nine/s' and that we could equally well 'dance to the nines' or 'etymologise to the nines'. The search for the link between 'nines' and dress sense has unearthed no convincing candidates. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but I'll stick my neck out here and say, with this phrase and with the other 'nines' phrases, 'nine' doesn't refer to anything specific - it just means 'a lot'."

Our pictures today bring together the Florida composites with reflections of the Toronto skyline buildings in a curved metal fountain at Victoria Street and Adelaide.  I've admired the sculptures in this area for many years.  As I was walking by on Wednesday, there were wonderful warped geometric abstracts. The first picture is a black and white version of one of the reflections.  This picture has been combined with the Florida composites from January.

What would you call this series?

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