from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A head. See cabbage.
  • n. A name of the miller's-thumb or bullhead.
  • n. A tadpole.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • I found a number of definitions for caboche including this one in the French Wikipedia...

    Une Caboche est un clou à tête carrée qui est utilisée pour fixer les fers à chevaux, pour les clouer il faut évidemment taper sur la caboche, d'où l'expression"tête de caboche"( qui a du mal à assimiler des informations, qui à la tête "dure" ).

    in which a horseshoe nail suggests a particularly thick-skulled person.

    Caboche is not related to "kibosh" but there is much to amuse in the Wordnik entry for that word and it should be visited.

    A caboche is most often defined as a species of fish commonly called a bullhead. I am intrigued by "miller's thumb" as a synonym. I understand that the fish is thought to resemble a thumb, but why a miller's? A miller's thumb is a metonym for an unfair influence. (I have also seen "butcher's thumb" so applied.) Is the bullhead being defamed as a dishonest fish? I see that there is a Miller's Thumb restaurant in Cape Town, SA and a Miller's Thumb art gallery in Vermont. Surely these establishments are not boasting of fraudulent business practices. Can anyone shed light on the appeal of this expression?

    It might be a fish, a flower or some
    Fellow perceived as specially dumb.
    Lexicons are awash
    With words for caboche
    But why is it called a miller's thumb?

    August 9, 2015

  • The fish called a bullhead, or a tadpole. See the Century Dictionary's definition of miller's-thumb.

    March 15, 2011