everything but the kitchen sink



The phrase everything but the kitchen sink, or the kitchen stove, and variants mean practically everything imaginable.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition – 1989), it was originally used in forces’ slang of the Second World War to describe the weaponry used during intense bombardment; the earliest quotation in this dictionary is from A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang, 1939-1945 (London, 1948), in which the lexicographer and etymologist Eric Honeywood Partridge (1894-1979) wrote that kitchen sink was

used only in the phrase indicating intense bombardment.

But I have found instances of the phrase indicating that it originated, in American English, in civil contexts of the early 20th century. One of them is from Prince or Chauffeur? A Story of Newport (Chicago, Illinois – 1911), by Lawrence Perry (1875-1954):

He was vaguely amused at the remark of a woman beyond the first bloom of youth, who, turning to her companion and nodding toward a socially famous young matron, who preceded them down the stairs fairly jingling with jewelry, remarked:
“I say, Jerry, Mrs. Billy has put on everything but the kitchen stove.”

On 10th July 1911, The Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba) published the description by a New Yorker of a meal he had at the house of a Russian princess:

First of all we had caviar. It was the real imported article, and it tasted not unlike bird shot pickled in hair oil. With the aid of a white dinner wine (also imported) I was able to wash down the first course without much of a struggle. The next course was more difficult. It was a thick, sour soup, and I am sure that it had everything in it but the kitchen sink.

This advertisement was published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) of 17th June 1915:

You can get in everything except the kitchen stove!
Our wardrobe trunks make vacation packing easy.
Four sizes—berth high, upright steamer, three quarters and full.

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