Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Dec 18 00:32:08 UTC 2004

>Quinion ( attributes this
>etymology without citation to the Irish poet Padraic Colum. (Quinion
>dropped the second "a" in "Padraic".) Colum joined the Gaelic League about
>age 20 (, and whether or
>not he could even speak the language, he probably knew more about Irish than
>98% of the members of this list, and certainly more than all of us in this
>thread so far put together. If he said that that was a phrase in Gaelic, I'm
>willing to accept it on his authority until counterevidence appears.

Here is a passage from Funk's "Hog on Ice" (1948) (p. 22):

<<But I am indebted to Padraic Colum, well-known Irish author, for what I
take to be the true explanation. In a letter to me he says: "'Kibosh,' I
believe, means 'the cap of death' and it is always used in that sense --
'He put the kibosh on it.' In Irish it could be written 'cie bais' -- the
last word pronounced 'bosh,' the genitive of 'bas,' death.">>

Is this the origin of the similar assertion in Hendrickson's book, as well
as the passage at Quinion's site? Is "cie" Colum's spelling, or a typo in
Funk's book? When Colum says it "could be written" thus in Irish, does he
imply that he's never *seen* it written? Even if he's never seen it
written, he should be able to look up the spelling if he recognizes the
words, right?

-- Doug Wilson

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