See more synonyms for caboose on
  1. a car on a freight train, used chiefly as the crew's quarters and usually attached to the rear of the train.
  2. British. a kitchen on the deck of a ship; galley.
  3. Slang. the buttocks.

Origin of caboose

1740–50; < early modern Dutch cabūse (Dutch kabuis) ship's galley, storeroom; compare Low German kabuus, kabüse, Middle Low German kabuse booth, shed; further origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for caboose

Historical Examples of caboose

  • The man addressed as “Jack” sprang alertly to the roof of the caboose.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • The conductor and crew of the local freight were lounging comfortably in the caboose.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • It did not occur to Bucks that the caboose was standing still.

    The Mountain Divide

    Frank H. Spearman

  • Mears, greatly disturbed, ordered the men off the grade and into the caboose.

    Whispering Smith

    Frank H. Spearman

  • He was not on top of any of the cars, nor in the caboose, and must have been left behind.

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe

British Dictionary definitions for caboose


  1. US informal short for calaboose
  2. railways, US and Canadian a guard's van, esp one with sleeping and eating facilities for the train crew
  3. nautical
    1. a deckhouse for a galley aboard ship or formerly in Canada, on a lumber raft
    2. mainly Britishthe galley itself
  4. Canadian
    1. a mobile bunkhouse used by lumbermen, etc
    2. an insulated cabin on runners, equipped with a stove

Word Origin for caboose

C18: from Dutch cabūse, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for caboose

1747, "ship's cookhouse," from Middle Dutch kambuis "ship's galley," from Low German kabhuse "wooden cabin on ship's deck;" probably a compound whose elements correspond to English cabin and house (n.). Railroading sense is by 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper