Wednesday, 15 January 2014


This one is a phrase I use a lot. 

When I want to say 'absolutely everything', an alternative is to say 'the whole kit and caboodle'. It's a common phrase and I hear it used a lot.

What puzzles me slightly is what it was about this particular phrase which so caught the imagination that it is still in popular use well over a hundred years after it was coined.

First things first - what does it literally mean?

Well 'the whole kit' means a set of items, like a toolkit, or what a soldier would keep in his kit-bag. A 'caboodle' (or just 'boodle') - is an archaic term meaning a group or collection, normally of people.

Origins are certainly American and certainly from the early 19th century but the first use of the phrase in the way we use it was this:

From the Syracuse Sunday Standard, New York, Nov, 1884:

"More audiences have been disappointed by him and by the whole kit-and-caboodle of his rivals."

The reasons why the phrase came to be used in this way are rather sketchy so if anyone knows the full details please let me know - then I shall have the whole kit and caboodle.

1 comment:

  1. My kit-and-caboodle got up and walked away.. Can't find it