Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Dec 16 04:22:53 UTC 2004

>1.  Has anyone put forth a good reason why it COULD NOT HAVE come from the
>Gaelic "cie bas" = "black cap" theory?  Along with this, is there any new
>evidence that would further this being the source of the word?  And, how far
>back can the "cie bas" phrase be found meaning what "kibosh" means?

As far as I can tell the purported Irish etymon might be "caipin báis" =
"cap of death" or so, and maybe there's a short form of "caipin" like
"caip" to make the thing phonetically plausible, I don't know. At a glance
I don't see any relevant word like "cie". The various spellings and glosses
given suggest that most of us don't know much about Irish (I surely don't).
I don't know that I've ever seen any quotation from any time showing this
used in Irish; maybe it's a genuine expression, but this is one of those
stories that goes around without any supporting citations. As long as no
etymology has been established, all conjectures are permissible, some more
likely than others maybe.

>2.  Why is the word "bosh" NOT related to "kibosh?"  I understand that
>"bosh" is supposedly from the Turkish.  But why couldn't it have been
>related to "kibosh?"  The close timeframe of such related terms would seems
>to be made to order for their being related.  I know this isn't a sufficient
>reason for them to be related, but, they COULD be.  At least, IMHO.

I think it is said that "bosh" came (not from the Turkish spoken by some
Turks at a London coffee-shop but) from a certain novel. Without a special
source such as that novel, Turkish origin of an arbitrary English word
would usually be a priori unlikely, I think. Again, various conjectures can
be entertained, until the truth comes to light. Since my knowledge of
Turkish is slightly less than my knowledge of Irish (if such a thing is
possible), I won't make any remarks on possible Turkish etyma.

-- Doug Wilson

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