The whole kit and caboodle

Example in use: “I wasn’t sure what I needed to take with me for my business trip because I had so many meetings to attend. In the end, I packed up the whole kit and caboodle, just to make sure I had everything I needed!”

Meaning: The whole thing, everything, all the bits and pieces or a complete collection of items.

Possible German equivalent: mit Kind und Kegel

Possible origin: Also sometimes written as “kit and kaboodle” (with a K). The “kit” in the phrase refers to the 18th century use of the word meaning a set of items – for example a soldier’s kit bag (everything he needed to take with him) - and “caboodle” stems from the American phrase “boodle” meaning a large group of people. It appeared in the US around 1830 and it is thought that through the “ca” was added to boodle to make it sound better as a combination of words!

This expression then became popular in the mid-1800s referring to “all and everything” at the same time as other similar combinations such as “kit and cargo” and “kit and biling”. Interestingly, “biling” comes from the idea of “the whole boiling” or the complete batch of soup. But “kit and caboodle” seems to have won through on the popularity stakes.

According to sources on the internet, this idiom is more popular in the US as the UK already had several of its own expressions meaning “all and everything”. Examples are “top and tail” or “lock, stock and barrel” which refers to the parts of a rifle in the 18th century, both of which are still in relatively common use today.

caboodle / /kəˈbuː.dl̩


Welcome again to our weekly series that hopes to go behind the scenes of some rather typical English expressions.