The full monty is a British slang phrase of uncertain origin. It is generally used to mean "everything which is necessary, appropriate, or possible; ‘the works’", and has been in common usage in the north of England for many years; the 1982 Yellow Pages for Manchester listed both a "Full Monty Chippy" and a "Fullmonty Chippy". An American equivalent might be phrase "the whole nine yards", "the whole ball of wax", "the whole enchilada", or "the whole shebang".
Since the 1997 film The Full Monty, which features a group of men in Sheffield learning to strip, the phrase has acquired an additional usage meaning removing every item of clothing.
Possible origins of the phrase include:
- rigorous training by Field Marshal Montgomery: 'We suddenly knew that we were going to be put through the full Monty treatment.'
- the large breakfasts eaten by Field Marshal Montgomery.
- the huge Eighth Army commanded by Field Marshal Montgomery during the desert campaign in WWII.
- a full three-piece suit with waistcoat and a spare pair of trousers (as opposed to a standard two-piece suit) from the Leeds-based British tailors Montague Burton. When the British forces were demobilised after WWII, they were issued with a "demob suit". The contract for supplying these suits was fulfilled by Montague Burton, so the complete suit of clothes issued to the servicemen was known as "the full Monty".
- gamblers’ jargon meaning the entire kitty or pot, deriving from the card game called monte