correction RE: "your back shall taste of the kurbaj (whip)", 1846, kibosh

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jan 29 22:02:45 UTC 2012

On 1/29/2012 1:33 PM, Gerald Cohen wrote:
> ....
> The bottom line here is that a long-standing etymological puzzle
> seems to have been solved, and with the exception of Matthew
> Little's very welcome preliminary treatment, the solution has
> come primarily in the very valuable messages sent to ads-l.
> (My only role in the above bibliographic reference is as compiler.
> Full credit is given throughout the article to the various
> contributors.) ....

I already sent a response, which presumably has been lost in Cyberspace
or caught in the spam filter, so I'll try again:


The personal 'name' seems to me to be essentially "Kibosh Ibn Humbug", a
joke name wherein "kibosh" might 'mean' either "bosh" ("nonsense") (as
it did sometimes later) or "stop" as in the contemporary "put the kibosh
on". Whether one can make more of it with better understanding of the
'Orientalist' context of the time, I don't know.

No doubt "kurbaj" meant approximately "whip" (used for punishment). Here
I believe the word is introduced superfluously along with other 'Middle
Eastern' words in jocular imitation of various 'Orientalist' works.

I myself do not [yet] see a presumptive etymological connection between
"kurbaj" and "kibosh".

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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