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


Alternative forms[edit]


Attested since at least the 1830s in a variety of spellings such as kibbosh and kye-bosk,[1] of unclear origin. Speculations include:



kibosh (uncountable)

  1. (slang) A checking or restraining element. Only used in put the kibosh on and put on the kibosh.
  2. (slang, dated) Nonsense, bosh. [19th c.]
    • 1835/36, Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, "Seven Dials":
      'What do you mean by hussies?' interrupted a champion of the other party, who has evinced a strong inclination to get up a branch fight on her own account. ('Hooroar,' ejaculates a pot-boy in parenthesis, 'put the kyebosk[sic, possibly a typo for kyebosh][1] on her, Mary!)
  3. (slang, dated) Fashion; style.
    • 1902, George Ade, Breaking into Society, "Rugged Hiram and Hiram's Giddy Wife":
      She was, in very Sooth, among the highest of the Rollers, but Hiram stood for the Bills with nary a Whimper. He was proud to be the Husband of the Lady Ki-Bosh of the Local Knickerbockers.


Derived terms[edit]


kibosh (third-person singular simple present kiboshes, present participle kiboshing, simple past and past participle kiboshed)

  1. (transitive) To decisively terminate.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Anatoly Liberman, 'Three recent theories of “kibosh”' (OUP)
  2. ^ Gerald Cohen, Stephen Goranson, Matthew Little, Origin of Kibosh (Routledge Studies in Etymology, 2017) →ISBN; cited in Ben Zimmer "Putting the Kibosh on an Old Riddle: the Source of the Phrase" (The Wall Street Journal, 29 December 2017)
  3. ^ kurbash” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.
  4. ^ (cf. William Safire, "Quoth the Maven: More on Language")