more information on the kibosh, qirbach, kurbash

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Jun 22 20:28:05 UTC 2010

At 6/22/2010 10:26 AM, Michael Quinion wrote:
>This new early example of the term is extremely interesting. However, I'm
>not persuaded that the suggested origin in a Middle Eastern instrument of
>torture can be supported by it. It is clear from the earliest examples
>that "kibosh" was a slang term of the London streets. The whip, and its
>name, were hardly well-known even among educated people in 1835.

Google Books does yield a few hits from British books and magazines
for "courbash" between 1829 and 1835  -- and none any earlier.  (I
have not tried to vet all these dates, and some, particularly the
journals, may be false.)  Two are books by Richard Robert
Madden.  The Westminster Review article, which is Oct. 1830, is
titled "Novels and Travels in Turkey" and is a review of four books,
one being one of Madden's books.

But who am I to say whether this made "courbash" common among Cockneys by 1835.


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