Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Cajun French calabousse, from Spanish calabozo. Doublet of calabozo.


calaboose (plural calabooses)

  1. (US, Australia, dialect) A prison or jail/gaol.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:prison, Thesaurus:jail
    • 1883, Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., Chapter 56, [1]
      The slaughter-house is gone from the mouth of Bear Creek and so is the small jail (or 'calaboose') which once stood in its neighborhood. A citizen asked, 'Do you remember when Jimmy Finn, the town drunkard, was burned to death in the calaboose?'
    • 1937, Langston Hughes, When the Jack Hollers; or Careless Love: A Negro-Folk Comedy in Three Acts, in The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, Volume 5. The Plays to 1942: Mulatto to The Sun Do Move, Leslie Catherine Sanders (ed.), Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002, pp. 392-3,
      BOGATOR: Aunt Billie, I thought you were in jail!
      AUNT BILLIE: I was, but I got tired of that little ole privy-sized jail, so I jest turned it over and come out!
      BOGATOR: (Still unbelieving) And you turned the calaboose over?
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1943, Chapter IX, p. 150, [2]
      [] he had but recently come out of Calaboose, where he had been serving a term for debt []
    • 1995, Hermann Hiery, The Neglected War: The German South Pacific and the Influence of World War I, University of Hawaii Press, Chapter 2, p. 82, [3]
      Thereupon the Administrator in Rabaul almost outdid himself in defending corporal punishment [] and demanded drastic alternative punishments, for the "calaboose" (Kalabus: Tok Pisin for prison) "is the native's paradise."
    • 2001, Sylvia D. Lynch, To Protect and Serve: History of the Knoxville Police Department, 1849-2001, Turner Publishing Company, p. 79, [4]
      The first calaboose or city jail used by the officers of the law was located on Cumberland Street, just below the vacant lot adjacent to the Star Steam Laundry.
    • 2004, Darrell T. Tryon and Jean-Michel Charpentier, Pacific Pidgins and Creoles: Origins, Growth and Development, Mouton de Gruyter, Chapter 5, p. 117, [5]
      In his opinion it would seem that certain usages of colloquial English in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1800s could have been selected as conventional usages in the developing contact jargon. Many of these usages are still part of colloquial speech today in both of these countries, for example: fella for 'one', [] no good, orright, calaboose, []