Unknown. Possibilities include:
- From the Irish caidhp bháis, meaning death cap (the hood put on someone before they were hanged to death, or the "Black cap" worn by English judges when pronouncing the death sentence).
- From the Scots kye booties, meaning cow boots (the hobble put on cattle to prevent them from straying).
- (Can we verify(+) this etymology?) From the Hebrew כבש, (kbsh) meaning conquer or tread down.
- (Can we verify(+) this etymology?) From the Hebrew חבש, (khbsh) meaning to bind or to imprison.
- (Can we verify(+) this etymology?) Some connection with Turkish bosh meaning empty.
"Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street", written by George Dibden Pitt in 1842 for the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton, at Act 3, Scene 2:
JARVIS WILLIAMS (to the Keepers of a madhouse at Peckham): "Stand off you cowardly rascals, or I'll put the 'kiebosh' on the whole consarn."
JONAS: "The 'kiebosh'?"
JARVIS WILLIAMS: "Yes, it's a word of Greek extraction, signifying the upset of the apple-cart - so - bunk!"
JARVIS WILLIAMS: "Yes, that's another Greek word, and means G.O., go."