kibosh

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

Compare bosh (nonsense).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

kibosh (uncountable)

  1. (slang) A checking or restraining element. Only used in put the kibosh on.
  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]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To decisively terminate.

References[edit]

  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 9781138628953; 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 Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
  4. ^ (cf. William Safire, "Quoth the Maven: More on Language")