[ kal-uh-boos, kal-uh-boos ]
/ ˈkæl əˌbus, ˌkæl əˈbus /

noun Slang.

jail; prison; lockup.

Origin of calaboose

1785–95, Americanism; (< North American F) < Spanish calabozo dungeon, of obscure origin Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for calaboose

British Dictionary definitions for calaboose


/ (ˈkæləˌbuːs) /


US informal a prison; jail

Word Origin for calaboose

C18: from Creole French, from Spanish calabozo dungeon, 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 calaboose



"prison," 1792, American English, from Louisiana French calabouse, from Spanish calabozo "dungeon," probably from Vulgar Latin *calafodium, from pre-Roman *cala "protected place, den" + Latin fodere "to dig" (see fossil).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper