Kit and caboodle

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed May 16 00:00:19 UTC 2007

In a message dated 5/15/2007 12:20:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
James.Landau at NGC.COM writes:

My  daughter asked me for information on the origin of the phrase "kit
and  caboodle".  Can anybody help

This is the last place anyone would every look for this, but here goes  
Entry from January 01, 2007 
“Whole kit and caboodle”
"The whole kit and caboodle” is an older expression for what we might  
nowadays say is _“the  whole nine yards”_ 
( —that is, “everything.” 

In the 1800s, the phrase  was variously given as “the whole kit” or “the 
whole caboodle” or “the whole kit  and biling” or “the whole kit and boodle,” 
among many other variations.  

“Kit” is an old Dutch word meaning a wooden vessel made of hoop staves.  “
Caboodle” or “boodle” is an old Dutch word meaning possessions. 

“The  whole kit and boodle” appears in print by at least 1849. 

_Old  West Writer’s Guide_ 
The whole kit and caboodle ~ the entire  thing. 

_Dave Wilton’s Word  Origins_ (  
Kit and Caboodle 
Kit and caboodle is  everything, the entire of collection of things under 
consideration. But it’s an  odd-sounding phrase to the modern ear. Kit doesn’t 
seem to make much  sense here and what the heck is a caboodle? 

The word kit  is from the Middle Dutch kitte, a wooden vessel made of hooped 
staves.  This original sense of kit remained current in English at least 
through  the 19th century. It appears in English as early as 1375 in Barbour’s The  

“Thai strak his hed of, and syne it Thai haf gert salt  in-till a kyt And 
send it in-till Ingland.” 

The earliest known use to  mean a collection of items is from 1785 in Grose’s 
Classical Dictionary of  the Vulgar Tongue, which glosses kit as: 

“The kit is likewise  the whole of a soldier’s necessities, the contents of 
his knapsack: and is used  also to express the whole of different commodities; 
as, Here, take the whole  kit, i.e. take all.” 

Caboodle is a variant of boodle, which means  a number of items or people. It 
comes from the Dutch boedel, meaning  estate, inheritance, or possessions. 
The term in the original Dutch sense was  introduced into American English as 
early as 1699 as this citation from that  year in Lederer’s Colonial American 
English attests: 

“Elisabeth  had the Boedel of Jan Verbeck, desceased [sic], in hands.” 

By the early  19th century, boodle was being used in the phrase the whole 
boodle  to signify everything, the entire collection of something. The Journal of 
 American Folklore records this usage from 1827: 

“He . . . turnd out  the hol boodle ov um.” 

The form caboodle appears as early as 1848  in this citation from the 
Wisconsin Democrat, 16 December of that year from a  Whig candidate who lost a 
supposedly safe seat in an election: 

“It is no  use to be a “Son,” it’s no use to be a whig, it’s no use to be 
nothin’,—I’ll  cut the whole caboodle.” 

The combined form appears by at  least 1861, when the following is recorded 
in Theodore Winthrop’s John  Brent: 

“I motioned we shove the hul kit an boodle of the gamblers  ashore on logs. ‘
Twas kerried.” 

And by 5 February 1888 the Boston  Globe was reporting: 

“If any ‘railroad lobbyist’ cast reflections on  his character he would wipe 
out the whole kit and caboodle of them.” 

So  kit and caboodle is a redundancy. Both elements of the phrase mean  
roughly the same thing. Such redundancies are common in English. 

_World Wide Words_ (   

[Q] From Elma Brooks: “What is the source of  the whole kit and kaboodle?” 

[A] Caboodle has a complicated  history. It’s been spelt down the years in 
many different ways, and these days  is usually listed in dictionaries with an 
initial “c”. It means a collection of  objects, sometimes of people. It 
commonly turns up in the whole caboodle,  meaning “the whole lot”. It’s recorded in 
the US from the middle of the  nineteenth century. It’s probable that the 
word was originally boodle,  with the phrase being the whole kit and boodle, but 
that the initial  sound “k” was added to boodle for euphony. 

There are examples of  similar phrases around the beginning of the nineteenth 
century, such as whole  kit and boiling (or whole kit and bilin’) and whole 
kit and  cargo, with the original very likely to have just been the whole  kit—
it’s recorded in this form in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar  Tongue in 
1785. It was also current in the US as the whole boodle  from the 1830s. It seems 
that the whole kit and caboodle eventually won  the linguistic battle for 
survival in the US because of that repeated “k” sound,  though Dialect Notes in 
1908 said that these other versions were still  known from various parts of 
the country. Sinclair Lewis used one of them in  Main Street in 1920: “The whole 
kit and bilin’ of ’em are nothing in  God’s world but socialism in disguise”

Boodle is familiar as the  relatively modern US word for money illegally 
obtained, particularly linked to  bribery and corruption. This is usually 
suggested as coming from the Dutch  boedel, “inheritance, household effects; 
possessions”. But it’s uncertain  whether it’s the same word as the one in the whole 
kit and boodle. Some  writers suggest the latter comes from the English buddle, 
meaning a  bundle or bunch (closely connected with bindle, as in the North 
American  bindlestiff for a tramp). As kit here means one’s equipment, to  put 
the two together in the sense of everything that one has, equipment and  
personal possessions, seems reasonable. 

(Oxford English Dictionary)  
slang (orig. U.S.). 
[Supposed to be a corruption of  the phrase kit and boodle (see KIT n.1).] 
the whole caboodle: the  whole lot (of persons or things). 
a1848 Ohio State Jrnl. (Bartlett,  Add.), The whole caboodle will act upon 
the recommendation of the Ohio Sun. 1873  B. HARTE Fiddletown 3 She had more 
soul than the whole caboodle of them  put together. 

kit, n. 
[app. a. MDu. kitte a wooden  vessel made of hooped staves (Du. kit tankard): 
ulterior etymology  uncertain.] 
colloq. A number of things or persons viewed as a whole; a set,  lot, 
collection; esp. in phr. the whole kit. Also, the whole kit and  boiling (boodle, 
caboodle, cargo). (Cf. CABOODLE.) U.S. 
1785 GROSE  Dict. Vulg. T., Kit, also used to express the whole of 
different  commodities; as, Here, take the whole kit; i.e. take all. 1788 R. 
GALLOWAY  Poems 170 (Jam.) ‘Twas whiskey made them a’ sae crouse;..But now I wad na  
gi’e ae louse For a’ the kit. 1821 SHELLEY dipus Tyr. I. 92 I’ll sell you  
in a lump The whole kit of them. a1852 F. M. WHITCHER Widow Bedott Papers  
(1856) xxiii. 257 The hull kit and cargo on ‘em had conspired together. 1859  
BARTLETT Dict. Amer. (ed. 2) 32 Biling, a vulgar pronunciation of  boiling. The 
phrase the whole (or more commonly hull) kit and bilin, means the  whole lot, 
applied to persons and things. 1861 DICKENS Gt. Expect. xl, A  better gentleman 
than the whole kit on you put together. a1861 T. WINTHROP  John Brent (1883) 
xxviii. 237, I motioned we shove the hul kit an boodle  of the gamblers ashore 
on logs. ‘Twas kerried. 1888 Boston Globe 5 Feb.  1/3 If any ‘railroad 
lobbyist’ cast reflections on his character he would wipe  out the whole kit and 
caboodle of them. 

20 December 1843, Tioga  Eagle (Wellsboro, PA), pg. 1, col. 6: 
“Worry them out”—reckon he did,  and told them to bring in any friend they 
had and he could cry out the whole kit  and bilen of ‘em, and if that didn’t 
satisfy them, make them feel the points of  his five knuckles besides. 

13 February 1849, Huron Reflector  (Norwalk, OH), pg. 1, col. 5: 
Horace Greeley, when the whole kit and boodle  of the honorable thieves in 
Congress turned against him as no gentleman, owned  up in the following Ben 
Franklin style. 

_Wright  American Fiction, 1851-1875_ 
Eutaw, a sequel to The forayers, or, The  raid of the dog-days 
Simms, William Gilmore, 
New York, Redfield,  1856. 
Pg. 435: 
“Ef he had but three fellows with him, and they had the  we’pons, he could 
jest now scalp and massacree the whole kit and b’iling of  ‘em.” 

_Making  of America_ 
Title: Putnam’s monthly magazine of American literature,  science and art. / 
Volume 9, Issue 50 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & co.  Publication Date: February 1857 
City: New York 
Pg. 196: 
Mistress  Beadle’s children were all bewitched, the whole kit and posse of 

_Wright  American Fiction, 1851-1875_ 
New England’s chattels, or, Life in the  northern poor-house 
Elliot, Samuel H. 
New York : H. Dayton, 1858.  
Pg. 209: 
The town paupers of Crampton, who aren’t worth, the  whole kit and boodle of 
them, two bright cents in the world, come to me to ask  if they shan’t put on 
a regular suit of crape! 

_Wright  American Fiction, 1851-1875_ 
Benedict, Frank Lee, (1834-1910): Miss Van  Kortland (1870) 1 match in 1 of 
178 pages 
ton said  carelessly, but looking keenly at her. / “Don’t I tell you they’re 
talking about  her, the whole kit and boodle of ‘em—things that would make 
your hair stand on  end, wherever or how 

_Wright  American Fiction, 1851-1875_ 
Eggleston, Edward, (1837-1902): The Hoosier  School-master (1871) 1 match in 
1 of 227 pages 
ough him. /  “He’s powerful smart, is the master,” said old Jack to Mr. Pete 
Jones. “He’ll  beat the whole kit and tuck of ‘em afore he’s through. I know
’d he was smart.  That’s the reason I tuck hi 

_Wright  American Fiction, 1851-1875_ 
Donaldson, James Lowry, (1814-1885):  Sergeant Atkins (1871) 1 match in 1 of 
323 pages 
e  strike-from-the-shoulder code. This handsome proposition being rejected, 
he  scornfully denounced “the whole kit and caboodle as a set of sneaking, 
cowardly,  breech-clouted niggers!” / Having th 

_Making  of America_ 
Title: Americanisms; the English of the New world.  
Author:  Schele De Vere, Maximilian, 1820-1898. 
Publication Info:  New York,: C. Scribner & company, 1872. 
Collection: Making of America  Books 
Pg. 583: 
Biling (instead of boiling), the whole kit  and biling, an expressive phrase, 
heard in the West, to designate the totality  of persons or things. “At one 
time there was good reason to fear that the  whole kit and biling, as our men 
invariably called out traps, would be swept  away, but by a great effort they 
kept the boat upright, and, although thoroughly  drenched, we saved everything.”
 (A Trip to the Rocky Mountains, 1869.)  

_Making  of America_ 
Title: Wanderings of a vagabond. An autobiography. Ed. by  John Morris 
Author:  O’Connor, John. 
Publication Info: New  York,: The author, [1873] 
Collection: Making of America Books 
Pg. 94:  
“He’s a thief, Mr. Lane, an all them fellers connected with him are a set of 
 thieves, the whole kit and bilin’ of ‘em, as you’ll find out to your 
sorrow, if  you trust any of ‘em!” 

_Wright  American Fiction, 1851-1875_ 
Coffin, Charles Carleton, (1823-1896): Caleb  Krinkle (1875) 1 match in 1 of 
507 pages 
up any more if  I’d tried. Coffeepots, skimmers, ladles, dish-pans, buckets, 
pails, tea-kettles,  and the whole kit and boodle lying around promiscuous. 
Dan, you did well that  time, but what are you goi 

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