to the nines
dressed to the nines
also, * up to the nines
- to perfection
- looking elegant, smart, or flashy
- to a high degree
- to a great extent
- The masked ball was excellent. You should have seen the costumes. Everyone was dressed to the nines.
- Go out and buy yourself a new outfit for Friday night. Everyone will be dressed to the nines, so we’d better look smart.
- They were all done up to the nines, and there I was in my mother’s old ball gown.
- Stella hated getting all done up to the nines. She was much happier in jeans and a jogging top.
- They were dolled up to the nines, and all heads turned as they walked in.
- Xiaomi gets up to the nines with Redmi smartphones.
- In our town, everybody decorates their house to the nines on the eve of Christmas.
- After the divorce, she was grieving and stressed to the nines.
- The rooms are outfitted to the nines with floor-to-ceiling.
- The boats were decorated to the nines, coast along the beach.
It seems that the expression is originally related to the Nine Worthies or the nine Muses. The current day informal English idiom dressed to the nines seems to have started out in life as simply to the nines. Meaning ‘to perfection,’ it made its first entry in the Oxford dictionary in this form in the early 1700s and seemed to have come from Scotland, where it was often quoted in poetry.
The earliest written example of the phrase is from the 1719 Epistle to Ramsay by the Scottish poet William Hamilton:
The bonny Lines therein thou sent me,
How to the nines they did content me.
Famous Scottish poet Robert Burns used the phrase:
Though paints auld nature to the nines,
In thy sweet Caledonian lines.
You may also hear done up to the nines or dolled up to the nines.