Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
December 09, 2011
: something that serves as a check or stop
The economic downturn put the kibosh on their renovation plans.

"Masterson and Phillips got engaged in 2009, but as we told you last year, the couple hit a roadblock: Volcano Eyjafjallajokull. You heard us: That massive volcanic ash cloud that grounded flights and kept journalists tongue-tied also put the kibosh on the couple's planned nuptials in Iceland." -- From a post by Matt Donnelly on the Los Angeles Times' Ministry of Gossip blog, October 19, 2011
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Did You Know?
For a century "kibosh" has taxed the ingenuity of etymologists. It was prominent enough in lower-class London speech to attract the attention of Charles Dickens, who used it in 1836 in an early sketch, but little else is certain. Claims were once made that it was Yiddish, despite the absence of a plausible Yiddish source. Another hypothesis points to Irish "caidhp bhais," literally, "coif (or cap) of death," explained as headgear a judge put on when pronouncing a death sentence, or as a covering pulled over the face of a corpse when a coffin was closed. But evidence for any metaphorical use of this phrase in Irish is lacking, and "kibosh" is not recorded in English as spoken in Ireland until decades after Dickens' use.

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