History of words and phrases
Getting down to brass tacks: In the old American country store, the owner would put brass tacks, to measure 36 inches, in the counter top as they measured bolts of piece goods.
Inch: We know it as a unit of measurement. King Edgar of England (944) said it was the length of the knuckle of his thumb.
Dress to the nines: If you had a suit made and you ordered an expensive one, tradition says the tailor should use nine yards of material.