Everything But The Kitchen Sink

by Joanne Mason on May 3, 2013

Kitchen sinkWhen you pack for vacation, what do you bring with you?  Do you travel light?  Or do you take everything but the kitchen sink?

If you take everything but the kitchen sink, your luggage is very heavy! You bring everything imaginable, even things you might not need or want.

Example 1

Francine took everything but the kitchen sink with her to the beach: smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, books, magazines, sandwiches, fruit, cookies, two pairs of sandals, sunscreen, board games, sand toys for her kids. I don’t know how she got it all in one bag.

Example 2

What’s in the casserole?  Everything but the kitchen sink!  I put all the leftovers in a dish and see how it turns out.  Sometimes it’s delicious. Sometimes it’s not.

My research hasn’t turned up any definitive origins for this phrase, although it appears the phrase started out as everything but the kitchen stove.

The OED’s first reference for everything but the kitchen stove is from 1927 in Edgar Wallace’s The Feathered Serpent:

‘Got everything on except the kitchen stove,’ said Mr. Crewe pleasantly… ‘You’re a fool to go out with all that stuff on you.’

Everything but the kitchen sink might have come a bit later, according to the OED. In 1948, the lexicographer Eric Partridge explained it in his work A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang, 1939-1945, a compilation of slang from the military. From the OED:

Kitchen sink, used only in the phrase indicating intense bombardment—‘They chucked everything they’d got at us except, or including, the kitchen sink.’ ‘The kitchen stove’ was also used.

While the phrase may be from the military, I’d still love to know how kitchen stoves or sinks were added to the mix.  Anyone have any ideas?

(Photo by Creativel via istockphoto)

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