"kibosh" and politics [and current state thereof]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Sep 4 16:08:05 UTC 2013

Don't we have enough evidence now to:

1)  Antedate the OED's 1836-- for "kibosh" ("dispose of finally")
perhaps to 1829 or 1830 ("courbash"; although these may perhaps mean
only the whip) and definitely to 1834 and 1835?

I suppose there could be an argument that Stephen's 1834 citation is
a figurative use (and variant spelling) of "kourbash", the whip.

2)   Assert that the etymology of "kibosh" is from "kourbash |
koorbash" ("a whip"), replacing the OED2's "Origin obscure. (It has
been stated to be Yiddish or Anglo-Hebraic: see N. & Q. 9th ser. VII. 10.)"?

By the way, I note that these Whigs must not have been puritan
dissenters.  The latter, enjoined by the Bible, would only have
permitted up to 40 lashes, not 300 (at least for a single offense).


At 9/4/2013 08:34 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>In the early 1830s London debate was lively about flogging, and
>election reform (mentioned in the broadside song that used kibosh),
>tariffs, and colonial policy. Several of the earliest (pre-Dickens)
>uses of "kibosh" appear in contexts of political controversy,
>especially against the Whigs. Why whipping Whigs?
>Perhaps worth mentioning: the Whigs were criticized by radicals for
>failing to abolish flogging in the military. Here's an 1832 cartoon
>against the Whig Secretary for War, John Hobhouse, who had called
>for the abolition of flogging before joining the government, but
>then suggested a limit of 300.
>A 7 Dec, 1834 article (The Age, London) that uses kibosh also
>complained that the Whigs failed to abolish flogging.
>When Wellington returned to government, he was said (in several 1834
>newspapers) to have "put the kibosh" on the Whigs, flooring them.
>The Age [London] 18 Jan 1835:
>"The late First Lord of the Admiralty [James Graham, who served from
>1830 to 1834, when he resigned] puts what Bill Ingilby calls the
>"kibosh" upon the Whig lies...."
>William (Amcotts) Ingilby was a radical MP (I haven't found such a
>quote from him yet). Association of flogging by kurbash and by
>kibosh (among other spellings) may become clearer.
>Stephen Goranson
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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