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Kit and Kaboodle

Posted by Bruce Kahl on January 23, 2000

In Reply to: Kit and Kaboodle posted by Robert Wilson on January 23, 2000

: Anyone know the origin of "the whole kit and kaboodle?"

"Kit and caboodle" (which is the most common form) dates back to the mid-eighteenth century and appeared first in England. There are a number of variants, including "kit and kerboodle" and "kit and boodle." The "kit" part of the phrase is of fairly straightforward origin, "kit" being an 18th century English slang term for "outfit" or "collection," as in a soldier's "kit bag," which contained all his worldly possessions. "Kit" may have come from "kith," meaning "estate," found today in the phrase "kith and kin."

"Caboodle" is a tougher nut to crack. As usual, there are a number of theories, the most likely of which traces "boodle" back to the Dutch word "boedel," meaning "property." Lawyers take note: "boodle" actually was a respectable word in its own right (meaning "estate") in the 17th and 18th centuries, and was even used in legal documents. But why "caboodle" or "kerboodle"? The "ca" and "ker" may be related to the intensive German prefix "ge," giving the sense "the whole boodle." Put it all together and you get "kit and caboodle," meaning "everything and all of everything," down to the last kitten.