kibosh, chybosh

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Dec 5 13:13:07 UTC 2006

OED, citing one of the (3?) Notes & Queries discussions, offers: "Origin
obscure.  (It has been stated to be Yiddish or Anglo-Hebraic: see N. & Q. 9th
ser. VII. 10.)]"
HDAS offers: "orig. unkn.: the sugg. that it derives fr. Yid or Heb is without

Well, whether we have one or more words here, one of them does appear to have a
Semitic origin, as proposed before, drawing on yod-chet, 18, inverted.

1857 A Few Odd Characters Out of the London Streets: As Represented in Henry
Mayhew's Curious Conversazione (London) "The Jew Clothes-Man" By Henry Mayhew

Vell, I can't do nothink here. I can't ket a carl no how; I'm a crushed man, as
crushed as a pig in Tooksh Plashe. [_Cries again loudly_] Any flowersh! Fine
flowersh! May I take a Meshamashena if I ever shee sish a plashe for pishness
as this here. Vy I a'n't made a shebter to-day, and I goy only a "chybosh," and
that's eighteen-penshe, yesterday. There a'n't nothink but clarksh in thish here
round [....]

1837 The Law of the Land, Or, London in the Last Century: A Drama in Three Acts
By William Henry Wills, p.2:

Damn it Nym, I thought we came here disguised as gemmen on the low toby; and now
you've put the kybosh on the whole fake. Here, take the swag. (_offers spoons
behind back_)

1859 Newton Dogvane: A Story of English Country Life By Francis Francis p. 198

If you'd only shoot s leetle forrerder, wot w lot more Saireys and bunnies you
would put the kibosh on to--to be sure[....]

1843 The Adventures of Mr. Ledbury and His Friend, Jack Johnson, by Albert
chapter 28 in Bentley's Miscellany (London) v. 13  p.431

"....The minute people find that a three-shilling mixture holds more than four
eighteen-penny phials, they put the kibosh on the draughts; wait for the little

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list