What do the Phrases “Dressed to the Nines” and “Putting on the Dog” Mean and How did They Originate?

The expression “putting on the dog,” meaning showing off, comes from the practice leisurely wealthy women had of carrying lapdogs to afternoon social functions.

“Dressed to the nines” comes from a time when the seats furthest from the stage cost one pence, and the closest, nine pence.

Sitting in the expensive seats required dressing up to fit in with the well-off.

It was called “dressing to the nines.”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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