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

  • noun A check, end, or stop.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The form, manner, style, or fashion of something; the thing: as, that is the proper kibosh; full dress is the correct kibosh for the opera.
  • To finish off; knock out; squash completely; end.
  • To throw kibosh, or Portland cement, upon (carved stonework) with a blowpipe and a brush, so as to enhance the shadows.
  • noun Something indefinite; a thing of any kind not definitely conceived or intended: as, I'll give him the kibosh
  • noun The thing in question; the stuff: as, that's the proper kibosh. Hence, specifically.
  • noun The stuff used in filling cracks or giving finish or shadow to architectural sculptures, namely, Portland cement.
  • noun Wages; money. Eng. Dial. Dict. (s. v. kybosh).
  • noun Affectation; display; pretense.
  • noun Stuff; nonsense; rubbish; bosh.
  • noun To put the finishing touches on; perfect (one) in his trade.
  • noun Intransitively, to do one's best.

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

  • noun Slang Nonsense; stuff; also, fashion; style.
  • noun Portland cement when thrown or blown into the recesses of carved stonework to intensify the shadows.
  • noun [Slang] to dispose of; to squelch; to terminate; put an end to; to do for.

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

  • noun slang A checking or restraining element.

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

  • verb stop from happening or developing


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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown. Possibilities include:


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  • What you put on things to stop them.

    April 14, 2008

  • A recurring antagonist in some of the 'Casper the Friendly Ghost' movies is named Kibosh. He's the king of the ghosts and a stickler for rules, which often leads to conflict with Casper and his "uncles".

    April 17, 2012

  • Given kibosh's early-19th c. entry into English, I wager its provenance from Arabic's kurbash - whip, riding crop, lash. Heritage gives the following as well: '1836, kye-bosk, in slang phrase put the kibosh on, of unknown origin, despite intense speculation. Looks Yiddish, but origin in early 19c. English slang seems to argue against this. One candidate is Ir. caip bháis, caipín báis "cap of death," sometimes said to be the black cap a judge would don when pronouncing a death sentence, but in other sources identified as a gruesome method of execution "employed by Brit. forces against 1798 insurgents" Bernard Share, "Slanguage, A Dictionary of Irish Slang".'

    May 18, 2013

  • From Charles Dickens aka 'Boz' 1837 "Put the Kye-bosh on her, Mary" p. 85

    according to this book page 220, in the footnotes,

    it comes from the name of an Irish Weapon

    "Put the Gai- Bolga on him" they think it's an Americanism, but it's really from a Dickens book.

    Wiki article about the Belly impaling weapon. Gae-Bolga

    May 19, 2013

  • In gaelic the caidhp bháis (pronounced a number of ways as always but kye-p wawsh is probably most useful) means cap of death. To put the kibosh on something is to put the cap of death on it.

    January 9, 2015

  • Standard-bearer for the People's Republic of Folk Etymologies, dis one.

    January 10, 2015

  • From Ben Zimmer’s review in the Wall Street Journal of the book Origins of Kibosh:

    Mr. Little, a professor at Mississippi State University, was the first to suggest in a piece for Comments on Etymology that “kibosh” may derive from the word “kurbash,” a long whip used for punishment in parts of the Muslim world. It originally appeared in Arabic and Turkish, borrowed into French as “courbache” and into English as “kurbash” and other variant spellings.

    That theory received a big boost when Mr. Goranson, who works at the Duke University library, discovered a poem published in London as a broadside around 1830. The anonymous author uses the expression “put on the kibosh” and explains in the next line, “That is, if they was to introduce the lash.”

    December 30, 2017