Kibosh origin?-- etcetera

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Aug 27 16:11:40 UTC 2010

Might not the Hebrew word have been imported from an Arabic or
Turkish source?  I can imagine Jewish captives or slaves being
subject to the kurbash, and the word becoming associated with subjugation.


At 8/27/2010 09:37 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
>Michael Quinion [wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG]
>Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:35 AM
>Subject: [ADS-L] Kibosh origin?
>A World Wide Words subscriber suggests that the origin of "kibosh" might
>lie in the Hebrew root "c-b-sh" which she tells me means to subjugate or
>oppress. She notes that the vernacular usage means to end or to stop and
>that it might therefore have been applied by Jews in the sense of the
>early English examples. Would someone versed in Hebrew care to comment?
>Michael Quinion
>Editor, World Wide Words
>Since no one else responded, I will. I am relatively more familiar with
>ancient Hebrew than with modern Hebrew (though perhaps little was
>newly-composed in the 1830s), and even less with Yiddish. I did read
>in Anatoly Liberman's bibliography, and considerably more. Unless
>your correspondent
>supplied surprisingly-relevant dated sentences, I suggest the proposal has
>little to commend it, though I'll read more if you send more. And I
>could write
>more about the proposal of M. Davis, long-time London Hebrew teacher,
>should it seem useful.
>I proposed the kibosh is the kurbash, lash.
>Twice in N & Q (1885 and 1901 [also in an Australian book
>disappeared from GB])
>  the following verse, introduced twice:
>A returned convict sings:
>The "ticket-of-leave" is singing of his gaol comfort and explains:
>Oh dear! I can't help a-thinking
>they'd knock our profession all to smash
>If they'd bring in the kybosh like winking--
>That is, they'd introduce the lash.
>Apparently, here, as elsewhere,  kybosh equals lash. As does Kurbash.
>lash + any of korbadj kurbach kourbach qirbach qurbash courbache
>corbage kurbash
>produces many hits. In addition to the appositions quoted before.
>Also, cf. the glossary in The Diana files: the huntress-traveller
>through history
>Fiona Claire Capstick - 2004  Page 332 (confirmed on paper; no
>mention in the book of
>Mary French Sheldon, the 1892 source, though possibly it is not
>independent attestation)
>" kibosh (uncertain [language])  lash or whip."
>This list is sometimes quite helpful. Thank you.

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