Everything but the kitchen sink

The phrase ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ indicates many things or almost everything, as in ‘I took everything but the kitchen sink with me on holiday. The OED gives the earliest use of the phrase in writing as 1965. The kitchen sink part of the phrase apparently comes from army slang and appears in Partridge’s 1948 Dictionary of Forces’ Slang as “Kitchen sink, used only in the phrase indicating intense bombardment ‘They chucked everything they’d got at us except, or including, the kitchen sink.’”

According to Know Your Phrase, however, it appeared in The Syracuse Herald, an New York newspaper in 1918 in the following sentence.

“I have I shall rather enjoy the experience, though the stitlons are full of people trying to get out and the streets blocked with perambulators, bird cages and ‘everything but the kitchen sink.'”

I discovered yesterday that the French equivalent is ‘tout sauf les murs‘ (everything but the walls), as in j’ai tout emporté sauf les murs = I took everything but the walls.

In Welsh the equivalents are popeth dan haul (everything under the sun) and eich holl drugareddau (your whole bric-a-brac).

Are there equivalent idioms in other languages?

This entry was posted in English, French, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

One Response to Everything but the kitchen sink

  1. Darryl Shpak says:

    “Everything but the walls” reminds me of another English idiom, “Everything that wasn’t nailed down”.

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