Word of Wisdom: Kibosh – MooseJawToday.com

Reverend Dr. John Kreutzwieser’s latest inspirational column.

In Sketches by Boz, Charles Dickens (1812-1879) wrote the following: “’What do you mean by rascals?’ interrupted a champion of the other party, who showed a strong inclination to fight on her own behalf. “Hooroar”, ejaculates a pot, “put the kyebosk on him, Mary!”

Word kibosh (kyebosk in Dickens) means to prevent going on. A kibosh is something that serves as a check or stop on things. A mother might exclaim, “I put the kibosh on this game to gain some control in this house.

The Dickens quote is not the first use of the word that has been found. Kibosh was used in several London newspapers in late 1834. It arose out of a case in a London court concerning two chimney sweeps. They were found guilty of bragging for business by shouting their services in the streets and were therefore fined one shilling each, plus costs. During the trial, one of the sweepers insinuated that the recent change of government from the Whigs to the Conservatives, who were temporarily led by the Duke of Wellington, was the result of the law that condemned them. “It was the Vigs vote that passed this bill, and why the Duke of Vellington put the kibosh on them, and they are right. It doesn’t prevent anything other than this vote here that floored them,” he said. Newspapers promoted the story that the real cause of the “kiboshing” of the ex-Chancellor and his team was the passing of Whig Law. The chimney sweep blamed his conviction on the Whig Act which prohibited “hawking in the streets”. He argued that the Duke and the Tories defeated the Whigs for passing the law. The London newspaper The Observer printed the following on November 30, 1834, “Now the Duke of Vellington has put the ‘Kibosh’ on them, vich they never would have had if they had not adopted it.”

Although the word kibosh was used by Dickens and the London newspapers, its origins are obscure. Charles PG Scott (1909) advanced the proposition that kibosh is in a league with words like caboodle and canoodle, which add a “kə” sound to a root to emphasize it. Although, with kibosh the stress is on the first syllable, which is not the case with these other words. The Turkish origin of displays in Scott’s explanation is a reference to James Morier’s 1834 novel, Ayesha, the Maid of Kars. The Turkish word displays, meaning “nonsense” or “foolish speech”, is used throughout the novel, which was hugely popular at the time and the route by which the word Turkish entered English, Scott claimed. “They are fake. They are displays-nothing.”

“Belgium puts the Kibosh on the Kaiser” was a popular British patriotic song from the First World War. It was first recorded on October 6, 1914 by Mark Sheridan. The song refers to the 1914 campaign in Belgium when the small British Expeditionary Force, accompanied by a surprisingly fierce Belgian defence, succeeded in delaying the much larger German army, slowing it down and destroying the Schlieffen plan.

There is another story that postulates the origin of kibosh to the Irish ‘caidhp bhais’, meaning death cap. This is the headgear that a judge wears when pronouncing a death sentence in court. The phrase is also used of the covering put on a face when the coffin is closed. In this case kibosh has a very final connotation.

Shawn Farshchi wrote in Forbes (December 2021), “Even with Covid-19 putting the kibosh on travel – or maybe even because of it – our research found that demand for international opportunities has increased. The current pandemic has certainly put a kibosh on many things around the world. Hopefully we can soon say, “We put the kibosh on COVID19. »

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