Up To The Nines
To be dressed in this way means to be dressed elaborately. In its other sense, it can refer to having a great deal of work on hand while reaching out as nearly as possible to perfection. In former times the nines alluded to classical scholars seeking this perfection through learning – represented by the Nine Muses of Greek and Roman mythology. Of the nine muses, Calliope was the muse of epic poetry, Clio of history, Erato of love poetry, Euterpe of music, Melpomene of tragedy, Polyhymnia of sacred poetry, Terpsichore of dance, Thalia of comedy, and Urania of astronomy.
Words by Adam Jacot de Boinod, author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books and creator of the iPhone App Tingo, a quiz on Interesting Words