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Kibosh

There is much disagreement on the origins of the word kibosh, though it apparently comes from early 19th-century Britain, and it may have Irish, Yiddish, Hebrew, German, Turkish, or French roots, depending on whom you ask. In any event, the noun appears almost exclusively in the phrase put the kibosh on, which means put a stop to. Kybosh is an accepted but rarely used alternative spelling. Kabosh is a common misspelling.

Examples

Here are a few examples of the word in its most common use:

So let’s get to what should be possible – putting the kibosh on the absurd notion of reforming the Senate by electing it. [Globe and Mail]

Nice legal loophole, but J-Lo caught wind of the crafty plan and put the kibosh on the release of the footage. [New Zealand Herald]

Trump had to put a kibosh on his presidential plans when NBC forced him to choose between a campaign and continuing with his hit show “Celebrity Apprentice.” [Los Angeles Times]


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We also found a few instances of kibosh used as a verb meaning, basically, to put the kibosh on—for example:

Council plans to go all the way in kiboshing unnecessary source water protection policies. [Cottage County Now]

[T]he OMB … can kibosh city plans by siding with developers in a process she calls “manifestly undemocratic.” [National Post]

Instead, the bid was kiboshed over the weekend, courtesy of the labyrinthine ownership structure and resulting politics that now dominate global brewing. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Oddly, the use of kibosh as a verb seems especially common in Canadian sources.

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Comments

  1. Neil McMillan says:

    From the Scots kye booties, meaning cow boots (the hobble put on cattle to prevent them from straying).As a Scot, I favour this version of the etymology of ‘kibosh,’ and because it holds well with the present meaning of the word.

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