What Does All Wool and a Yard Wide Mean?

All Wool and A Yard Meaning

Definition: Something that is high-quality; to be friendly and honorable.

The idiom all wool and a yard wide refers to something that is high-quality or to a person who is friendly and genuine. It dates back to the Civil War, and it is not commonly used in modern English.

Origin of All Wool and a Yard Wide

This idiom has an interesting origin in that each part – “all wool” and “a yard wide” – may have originated as separate expressions.

All wool became popular during the American Civil War, and it referred to something that was high in quality. This is because soldiers’ uniforms were made of mixed materials. If a uniform was all wool, it was good quality. This phrase was then used to refer to anything that was considered good quality.

Meaning of all woolA yard wide was also used in this context, and it literally referred to the width of the cloth used to make the Civil War uniforms. A single piece of wool used to make clothing was a yard wide; shabbier uniforms were sometimes made of pieces which were not a full yard wide.

It is thought that the full idiom all wool and a yard wide was first coined in the 1880s, although there is little information about its first appearance in print. How and why the idiom evolved to refer to people who are genuine or kind is unclear.

Examples of All Wool and a Yard Wide

 Define all woolSince the idiom is outdated, it is not very commonly used in modern English. It is very rare that this term will be used in conversation, and it is more likely that it will be used to refer to people who are genuine and friendly rather than objects which are high-quality.

Summary

The American English idiom all wood and a yard wide refers to something that is high-quality or someone who is kind and genuine.