"Three recent theories of 'kibosh'"...

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Aug 14 18:36:35 UTC 2013

One perhaps major comment about what Liberman writes (elsewhere, I
share the same skepticisms).  I have not read Stephen's 2010 article,
nor searched the ADS-L archives completely for discussion of "courbash", but --

Liberman writes "The word ["kurbash"] is exotic, and accepting it
[the Muslim world's whip] as the etymon of kibosh presupposes the
familiarity of the London street with it some time before 1842."

Surely the London world was familiar with the Ottoman Empire long before 1842.

More specifically, the collective intelligence found instances of
"courbash" (as the whip; a spelling that Liberman does not discuss)
in newspaper articles and books about or from the Ottoman Empire
before 1842 -- as early as 1829 -- and thus not street slang at those
times.  In the archives:

(1)  Google Books yields 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.

Victor found an instance in an 1830 MY Med Journal, which appears to
be about Madden's books, which were published in 1829 and 1830.

(2)  An instance in the 1835 July 15 Rhode-Island Republican, page 2,
in an article titled "Horrors of the Cario [sic] Lunatic
Asylum.":  "... the keeper armed himself with a courbash, (a whip,
made of one solid thong of the hide of the hipdopotamus,) ..." [sic;
inverted "p"]."  And this surely appeared in some London paper a
couple of months earlier.  (I haven't looked into the Burney Collection.)


At 8/14/2013 10:14 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>...is the title of Anatoly Liberman's blog today, available here:
>The article mentioned there by David L. Gold is available here:
>Stephen Goranson
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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