kibosh

noun
ki·​bosh | \ˈkī-ˌbäsh, kī-ˈbäsh, ki-ˈbäsh \

Definition of kibosh 

: something that serves as a check or stop usually used in the phrase put the kibosh on Inevitably, though, another recession will come putting the kibosh on job and income growth …— Joseph Spiers

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Other Words from kibosh

kibosh transitive verb

The Mysterious Origins of Kibosh

For almost two centuries, 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 Gaelic caidhp bháis—pronounced similarly to, and meaning, "coif 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 as spoken in Ireland until decades after Dickens' use.

Examples of kibosh in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There was a moment when Emily thought about shipping her family piano from Oregon to California, but a $13,000 quote put the kibosh on that. Sarah Weinberg, House Beautiful, "It's Always Happy Hour At Emily Henderson's," 12 July 2018 But now the Trump Administration appears to be putting the kibosh on the strategy sessions in the likes of California and New York. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The IRS Bursts Cuomo’s Tax Illusion," 23 May 2018 Five Star and the League refused to have a government without Savona, so this effectively put the kibosh on their deal. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Italy’s Political Crisis Is Rattling Europe. Here’s What You Need to Know.," 30 May 2018 In 2014 the Obama Administration put the kibosh on a tie-up between T-Mobile and Sprint. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "When T-Mobile Met Sprint," 30 Apr. 2018 Buffalo’s win put a kibosh on what many were describing as mini Final Four of sorts in Boise. Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY, "2018 NCAA tournament: Buffalo blasts Arizona, sends a warning," 16 Mar. 2018 After Coughlin left the Senate, other lawmakers got a bill passed that eliminated mayor's courts in towns with less than 200 residents, thereby putting a kibosh on an Interstate 71 speed trap run by the tiny Cleveland suburb of Linndale. Peter Krouse, cleveland.com, "Controversial mayor's courts abound in Cuyahoga County: Justice for All," 17 Jan. 2018 At the hearing, Barbara van Schewick, director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, succinctly put the kibosh on this notion. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "California's plan to protect net neutrality will shield consumers from telecom bullies," 20 Apr. 2018 And MailChimp, a purveyor of email newsletters, put the kibosh on dispatches that self-interestedly hawk virtual moneys. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Cyber Saturday—Big Tech's Cryptocurrency Conspiracy," 7 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kibosh.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kibosh

1830, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kibosh

of obscure origin

Note: A number of etymologies are summarized by Anatoly Liberman in online postings to the OUPblog maintained by Oxford University Press ("Unable to put the kibosh on a hard word," May 19, 2010; "Monthly gleanings," July 28, 2010; "Three recent theories of 'kibosh'," August 14, 2013; "Etymology gleanings," November 29, 2017). The recent theories to which he alludes see the following as sources for kibosh: the heraldic term caboched, caboshed "(of an animal's head) borne full-face without the neck showing"; kibosh as a term for an iron bar used by clogmakers in the north of England (apparently first attested in 1860); Arabic kurbāj, kirbāj "whip, lash" and its source, Turkish kırbaç. The latter hypothesis is argued at length in a monograph by Gerald Cohen, Stephen Goranson and Matthew Little, Origin of Kibosh (Routledge, 2017), which also summarizes recently found antedatings to citations of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary (dating the word with certainty to 1834, and perhaps to 1830). Pace the authors' enthusiasm, the Arabic/Turkish origin is questionable: if Charles Dickens' 1835 recording of the word as "kye-bosh" accurately reflects the vowel and accent of the first syllable (according with the current pronunciation), the phonetic gap between the source and the English word is difficult to bridge; and the authors suggest no mechanism by which an assumed loanword from the eastern Mediterranean could have found its way into the speech of lower London social strata. Liberman may well be correct that "with the present evidence at our disposal, the chance of unearthing the origin of kibosh is vanishingly small."

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Dictionary Entries near kibosh

kibitzer

kibla

Kibo

kibosh

Kichai

kichel

Kichua

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The first known use of kibosh was in 1830

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