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English Wikipedia has an article on:
Historic caboose on display in O'Fallon, Illinois

Alternative forms[edit]


From French cambuse, from Middle Dutch kabuys, kabuis (Modern Dutch kombuis (galley; kitchen)).


  • IPA(key): /kəˈbuːs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːs


caboose (plural cabooses)

  1. (obsolete, nautical) A small galley or cookhouse on the deck of a small vessel.
  2. (historical, nautical) A small sand-filled container used as an oven on board ship.
    • 1821, Owen Chase, Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex …:
      On the second day out, while sailing moderately on our course in the Gulf Stream, a sudden squall of wind struck the ship from the SW. and knocked her completely on her beam-ends, stove one of our boats, entirely destroyed two others, and threw down the cambouse.
    • 1841, Journal of the Franklin Institute, page 113:
      This stove is to be made in the form of a Franklin, but is to be furnished with an oven, and other means of cooking; its appearance is therefore more like that of the old fashioned caboose, than of a Franklin stove.
    • 1881, Eliza Davies, The Story of an Earnest Life, page 226:
      A tremendous billow, fringed with foam, swept over our deck, carrying the cook's caboose, cooking utensils and stove right overboard into the sea.
    • 2002, Don Philpott, Cayman Islands:
      The kitchens were kept separate because cooking was done in a caboose, a wooden box filled with sand and heated by a wood fire.
  3. (US, rail transport) The last car on a freight train, having cooking and sleeping facilities for the crew; a guard’s van.
    Synonym: (obsolete) guard's van
  4. (slang, baby-talk or euphemistic) buttocks
  5. (slang, sports) The person or team in last place.
  6. (informal, often in combination) A youngest child who is born after a long gap in time.
    • 1987, Harriet Wallace Rose, Something's Wrong with My Child!:
      Jimmy was seven and had just finished first grade, so that made Nancy our caboose baby — our bonus child — our swan song.
    • 1987, Growing Child Research Review - Volumes 5-7:
      "Caboose" children, the late-born last offspring in the family, didn't suffer from this as much.
    • 2007, Beth K. Vogt, Baby Changes Everything, page 145:
      After looking back on her own experience, she thought of some ways parents could help ease the transition for their caboose kid.