: jail; especially : a local jail
"To put it mildly, Independence was a rough and tumble place, the first of the Wild West towns such as cowboy folklore was built around. Even the more refined guys of that day and time didn't react mildly to confinement in the calaboose or restrictions of any sort…." — Ted W. Stillwell, The Examiner (Independence, Missouri), 14 Dec. 2016
"Moore said most of the calabooses were built in small towns, with local labor and local materials 'as cheap as they could because they didn't need a big jail or have the money for a big jail, and most of the offenders would be drunks.'" — Jim Hardin, Rockwall County Herald-Banner (Greenville, Texas), 28 Oct. 2016
Did You Know?
Calaboose had been part of the English language for almost a century when John S. Farmer included the term in his 1889 book Americanisms—Old & New, defining it as "the common gaol or prison." Farmer also made mention of a verb calaboose, meaning "to imprison," but that term was apparently lost in the years between then and now. Calaboose is Spanish in origin; it's from the Spanish word calabozo, meaning "dungeon."
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