"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults
in phrase to the nines "to perfection" (1787) first attested in Burns, apparently preserves the ancient notion of the perfection of the number as three times three (e.g. the nine Muses, etc.
[T]he Book of St. Albans, in the sections on blasonry, lays great stress on the nines in which all perfect things (orders of angels, virtues, articles of chivalry, differences of coat armour, etc.) occur. [Weekley]No one seems to consider that it might be a corruption and misdivision of to then anes, literally "for the one (purpose or occasion)," a similar construction to the one that yielded nonce (q.v.).
Old English nigen, from Proto-Germanic *niwun (cf. Old Saxon nigun, Old Frisian niugun, Old Norse niu, Swedish nio, Middle Dutch neghen, Dutch negen, Old High German niun, German neun, Gothic niun "nine"), from PIE newn "nine" (cf. Sanskrit nava, Avestan nava, Greek ennea, Albanian nende, Latin novem (with change of -n- to -m- by analogy of septem, decem), Lithuanian devnyi, Old Church Slavonic deveti (the Balto-Slavic forms by dissimilation of -n- to -d-), Old Irish noin, Welsh naw).
Nine to five "the average workday" is attested from 1935. Nine days has been proverbial since 14c. for the time which a wonder or novelty holds attention.
A nine-millimeter semiautomatic pistol: There was a fight. I saw a man running with a nine/ People seeking guns for personal combat want reliable stopping power, revolvers or semiautomatic pistols known as ''nines'' (1990s+)verb
: Motherfucker tried to stiff me on a buy and I nined him right there