Green’s Dictionary of Slang

kibosh n.

also kabosh, kiebosh, kybosh
[? Heb. or Yid. kabas, kabasten, to suppress (B&L, but rejected by Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish 1968); note Jack London suggests f. Chinook in cit. 1897; but note intensifying pfx ker- pfx + bosh n.1 ; kye n.1 + bosh n.1 , i.e. 18 pence, and thus synon. with a fourpenny (one) under fourpenny adj. (see DSUE 8th edn Appendix for further theories); Cohen et al (2017) prefer Arabic kurbash, a whip, via French courbache; also note Irish Gaelic ceip bàis, death cap, i.e. the black cap used in court and Dolan (1998): ‘Irish caidhp (an) bháis or caidhpin (an) bháis, “cap of death”, the black cap or judgment cap worn by judges when pronouncing sentence of death’]

1. a bad accident, a defeat; usu. as put the kibosh on

implied in put the kibosh on
[UK]Flash Mirror 16: A cove turn’d nose and blow’d you, so the beaks are areter you [...] There’s the kibosh on you, my double smut.
[UK] ‘’Arry on ’Ome Rule’ in Punch 17 July in P. Marks (2006) 122: Aha! Caine has give ’em the kibosh.
[US]Arizona Wkly Citizen 20 May 1/3: ‘Our Mark’ hasd been given the ’grand kibosh’ every time he approached the administration for an appointment.
[US]J. London ‘The Road’ in Hendricks & Shepherd Jack London Reports (1970) 311–21: Their argot is peculiar study. [...] Kibosh means utter discomfiture, from the Chinook.
[US]‘O. Henry’ Cabbages and Kings 114: It’s one of my little chores as private secretary to smell out these revolutions and affix the kibosh before they break out.
[UK]W. McG. Eager Contemp. Rev. n.p.: In ve morning, ’e said to ve boss, ‘Look ’ere, guvnor, this poor bloke ain’ ’alf ’ad a kybosh, you look arter ’im an’ I’ll see you Sa’urday night.’.
[UK](con. 1914–18) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 573: The British were fond of a number of Americanisms, e.g., cold-feet, kibosh, nix, pal and to chew the rag, but whether they were borrowed from the A.E.F. or acquired by some less direct route I do not know.
[Aus]J. Cleary Sundowners 122: Well, that puts the kybosh on it.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 107: James Bond had put the kibosh on that.

2. rubbish, nonsense, humbug; thus kiboshery.

[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 10 Feb. 115: You know you owe Bet Muggins half a bull, Sall Scramble a bob, and Freckle-faced Hannah kibosh and a drop of slary.
[UK] ‘Leary Man’ in ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue (1857) 41: But let this be your plan: / Put up with no kiboshery / But look well after poshery.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Fashion’ in Punch 10 Sept. 110/1: The D.T. [...] reels off the awfullest kibosh, two columns or more every day.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Sincerest Form of Flattery’ in Punch 20 Sept. 144/2: But if ’tisn’t alive, ’tain’t chin-music, but kibosh, and corpsey at that.
[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 144: Now mind yeh ... No hanky-panky [...] I ain’t standing any kybosh.

3. eighteen pence i.e. 1/6d predecimalization.

H. Mayhew ‘The Jew Clothes-Man’ A Few Odd Characters Out of the London Streets: As Represented in Henry Mayhew’s Curious Conversazione 14: Vell, I can’t do nothink here. I can’t ket a carl no how; I’m a crushed man, as crushed as a pig in Tooksh Plashe. [...] Vy I a’n’t made a shebter to-day, and I goy only a ‘chybosh,’ and that’s eighteen-penshe, yesterday.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus](ref. to 1850s) Western Mail (Perth) 28 May 21/1: [from Daily Mail, London] Kibosh used to be the slang word for one-and-six.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 4 Sept. 5: The costers have their own money-slang [...] 1s 6d a ‘kibosh’.
[UK]F. Norman in Encounter n.d. in Norman’s London (1969) 61: one and six – Ky-bosh.
[UK] (ref. to 1930s) R. Barnes Coronation Cups and Jam Jars 207: Kybosh – 1/6 (0ne shilling and six pence).

4. the height of fashion.

[US]Century Dict.
[US]Ade Breaking Into Society (1904) 34: He was proud to be the Husband of the Lady Ki-Bosh of the Local Knickerbockers.

5. an 18-month prison sentence.

[UK]J. Gosling Ghost Squad 26: Thieves’ argot, spoken properly, is a foreign language which needs to be learned [...] Each prison sentence has its own word [...] ‘kybosh’ for 18 months.

In phrases

give someone the kibosh (v.)

to destroy or defeat someone.

[UK]Marvel III:56 22: We’ll lick ’em at football, we’ll lick ’em at cricket, we’ll give ’em the kybosh generally.
put the kibosh on (v.)

to spoil, to ruin; citation 1891 of dubious meaning.

[UK]‘Flare Up!’ in Rake’s Budget in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 66: He got clean out — march’d off, by gosh, / And put on Poll and Bob the kibosh.
[US]News (London) 30 Nov. 383: Ah! said Smith, as he left the office, this here hact vos the work of the ‘Vigs,’ and now the Duke of Wellington as put the ‘Kibosh’ on ’em, vich they never would have got, if they hadn’t passed it; that’s vot’s floor’d em.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 82: She put the kybosh on my clapper, by jist holding up her finger and talking away.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 23 Sept. 2/4: This was a slaughtering round; Kenny lost no time in going to work In earnest to put the ‘kibosh’ on his opponent.
[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 18 May 4/3: Ther returne ov Prime Minister to power puts ther kibosh on me kompletely.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 Apr. 3/3: I’ll soon put the kibosh upon that.
[UK] ‘Leary Man’ in ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue (1857) 44: Put the kiebosh on the dibbery, / Know a joey from a tibbery.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 163: kibosh to ‘put on the kibosh,’ to run down, slander, degrade, &c.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[US]World (N.Y.) 19 May 15/1: From the present aspect of affairs it would seem that Mike has effectually Put the kibosh on adverse public opinion.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 414: The beak let me go with a caution, and as I was leaving the Court, a reg’lar ’igh-flyin’ shickster come up and told me ’s how she’d spotted me workin’ in the Strand, and if I‘d like to come and live along of her and her fancy-man, they’d put the kisbosh on me in no time.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 272: The exceptionally severe weather had put the kibosh on even hurdle-racing.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 197: Flyinfox will put th’ kybosh on it, if it comes up.
[US]C. M’Govern By Bolo and Krag 26: The colonel [...] makes up his mind to put the kibosh on our little scheme.
[Aus]Sat. Referee (Sydney) 12 Oct. 4/6: The fact of having beaten an opponent can be described as having [...] ‘put the lid on him,’ ‘put the kybosh on him,’ ‘done him in’ [etc] .
[US]Princeton Union (Minn.) 4 June 8/3: ‘Doc’ beat up the baseball woods for [...] some other equally good semi-pro to put the kabosh on his hated Princeton rivals.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 338: The right plan would be to put the complete kybosh [...] on your chances of becoming an alderman.
[UK]Marvel 1 Mar. 7: I’m ready to agree to any wheeze that will put the kibosh on Dimcox.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 321: Gob, that puts the bloody kybosh on it if old sloppy eyes is mucking up the show.
[UK](con. 1900s) J.B. Booth ‘Master’ and Men 297: It wasn’t public opinion wot put the kibosh on the Board o’ Works.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 76: That was what put the kibosh on Rube’s lungs.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld) 1 Mar. 10/6: Him Brokentoe Tommy, an’ me put the plurry kibosh on him quick.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 416: The killing at the Kansas City railroad put the kibosh on everything.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: johnstone: It’s put the kybosh on the journey back.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 29: He was a bit anxious you was going to put the old proverbial kybosh on his night out.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 106: I was at the races on Saturday with him and he put the kibosh on me.
[NZ]P. Wilson N.Z. Jack 139: This is the one afternoon when I’ve been able to arrange to take time off, and you try to put the kybosh on me.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 239: Luther tried to put the kibosh on.
[UK]‘John le Carré’ Smiley’s People 175: George put the kibosh on the Kirov case.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 14 Aug. 3: She has put the kibosh on my theory.
[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 51: Calling the client’s boyfriend names – may have to put the kibosh on that.
[Aus] A. McKinty ‘The Dutch Book’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Mr. Rourke had insisted that we wear suits and ties, but Whitey had put the kybosh on that.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] I had to put the kibosh on their show.