Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The last car on a freight train, often having kitchen and sleeping facilities for the train crew, and used as a vantage point for spotting problems on the train, such as smoking brakes or the separation of cars. The introduction of electronic sensors has made the caboose unnecessary.
  • noun A ship's galley.
  • noun Any of various cast-iron cooking ranges used in such galleys during the early 1800s.
  • noun An outdoor oven or fireplace.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An inclosed wagon for conveying workmen to mines.
  • noun The cook-room or kitchen on shipboard; a galley; specifically, the inclosed fireplace, hearth, or stove used for cooking on small vessels.
  • noun A car for the use of the conductor, brakemen, etc., on a freight-train.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) A house on deck, where the cooking is done; -- commonly called the galley.
  • noun (Railroad), United States A car used on freight or construction trains as travelling quarters for brakemen, workmen, etc.; a tool car. It usually is the last car of the train.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete, nautical A small galley or cookhouse on the deck of a small vessel.
  • noun US, rail transport The last car on a freight train, having cooking and sleeping facilities for the crew; a guard’s van.
  • noun slang buttocks

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the area for food preparation on a ship
  • noun a car on a freight train for use of the train crew; usually the last car on the train

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Possibly from obsolete Dutch cabuse, ship's galley, from Middle Low German kabūse : perhaps *kab-, cabin; akin to Old French cabane; see cabin + Middle High German hūs, house.]

Examples

  • It is useful to point out the desired behavior in other children-"See how nicely that boy is playing with others"-but parents should refrain from adding what he calls the "caboose"-a phrase like "Why can't you do that?"

    WSJ.com: What's News US

  • It is useful to point out the desired behavior in other children—"See how nicely that boy is playing with others"—but parents should refrain from adding what he calls the "caboose"—a phrase like "Why can't you do that?"

    Tantrum Tamer: New Ways Parents Can Stop Bad Behavior

  • And, sure enough, across the street was a bright red train caboose sitting on its own bit of track with nothing around it, carefully set up so that a child could climb up and play on the outside parts.

    Overheard at the Wright's Household

  • Feel like taking in a film at your favorite theatre but can’t find enough energy to move your caboose from the comfort of your cozy domestic den?

    ROCKY CHAIR by Guy Arzi | Inhabitat

  • Feel like taking in a film at your favorite theatre but can’t find enough energy to move your caboose from the comfort of your cozy domestic den?

    2006 September | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World

  • In fact, a caboose is a caboose when it's a caboose.

    CNN Transcript Jan 17, 2009

  • COOPER: We're looking at the private car on the train, Wolf, mistakenly called a caboose earlier.

    CNN Transcript Jan 17, 2009

  • It looked like the caboose was attached to the engine as it wound around the track in a full circle.

    Chocolates for Charlie

  • It looked like the caboose was attached to the engine as it wound around the track in a full circle.

    Chocolates for Charlie

  • "caboose" -- as the cook was jocularly termed -- ordered me about with a fierce exultation, that he had one white skin that he could command!

    Ran Away to Sea

Comments

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  • Pronounced Koodie-moose by my son when he was 2 years old. I am sad to say that now that his son is two years old, the caboose is a thing of the past and even though my grandson LOVES trains...he knows nothing of the wonders of the koodie-moose.

    A caboose (North American railway terminology) or brake van or guard's van (British terminology) is a manned rail transport vehicle coupled at the end of a freight train. Although cabooses were once used on nearly every freight train in North America, their use has declined and they are seldom seen on trains, except on locals and smaller railroads.

    The caboose provided the train crew with a shelter at the rear of the train. From here they could exit the train for switching or to protect the rear of the train when stopped. They also used windows to inspect the train for problems such as shifting loads, broken or dragging equipment, and overheated journals (hotboxes). The conductor kept records and otherwise conducted business from a table or desk in the caboose. For longer trips the caboose provided minimal living quarters.

    _Wikipedia

    February 10, 2008

  • The kitchen on the deck of a ship.

    December 14, 2010