geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Sun Aug 29 10:09:09 UTC 2010
I had always assumed it came through Yiddish, mostly because it 'sounds' Yiddish. But probably not. Unlike other Yiddish words that supposedly entered English through Cockney.
Of course Arabic is Semitic. So is Akkadian /kabaasu/ 'tread, tread down, press', Aramaic/Syriac /kaavash/ 'treaded down, subdued, pressed together', as well as Arabic /kabasa/ 'press, squeeze, kneaded; attack, raid'.
The fact that there is a list of cognates in the major Semitic languages indicates it's a Proto-Semitic root rather than a borrowing. Klein thinks it's related to */k-b-s/ with the meaning 'wash', also showing up in Ugaritic (I guess from washing by kneading, or something).
Data on p. 269=70.
Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Professor, Linguistics Program
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at att.net>
> To: "Geoffrey S. Nathan" <geoffnathan at wayne.edu>, ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 8:14:41 PM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Kibosh origin?
> How did you get to Yiddish? Previous speakers have only mentioned
> >It does need to be pointed out, however, that there is a Biblical
> >Hebrew root /k-b-sh/ meaning 'press down, oppress, crush' with the
> >same associated metaphorical extensions as English. It is not
> >borrowed, because, according to Klein's Etymological Hebrew
> >Dictionary, it has cognates in most of the other Semitic languages.
> Arabic is a Semitic language, is it not? What in Klein rules out it
> having come to Hebrew from Arabic?
> At 8/28/2010 06:37 AM, Geoffrey S. Nathan wrote:
> >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> >Michael wrote:
> >A World Wide Words subscriber suggests that the origin of "kibosh"
> >lie in the Hebrew root "c-b-sh" which she tells me means to subjugate
> >oppress. She notes that the vernacular usage means to end or to stop
> >that it might therefore have been applied by Jews in the sense of the
> >early English examples. Would someone versed in Hebrew care to
> >and Joel wrote:
> >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
> >and Steven replied:
> >Since no one else responded, I will. I am relatively more familiar
> >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'd have to agree with Steven here about the lack of evidence for a
> >Yiddish origin. It does need to be pointed out, however, that there
> >is a Biblical Hebrew root /k-b-sh/ meaning 'press down, oppress,
> >crush' with the same associated metaphorical extensions as English.
> >It is not borrowed, because, according to Klein's Etymological
> >Hebrew Dictionary, it has cognates in most of the other Semitic
> >But nobody seems to be able to produce a Yiddish use of this root,
> >so the 'lash' story seems more credible to me.
> >Geoffrey S. Nathan
> >Faculty Liaison, C&IT
> >and Professor, Linguistics Program
> >+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
> >+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
> >The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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