from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The last car on a freight train, having kitchen and sleeping facilities for the train crew.
  • n. Obsolete A ship's galley.
  • n. Obsolete Any of various cast-iron cooking ranges used in such galleys during the early 19th century.
  • n. Obsolete An outdoor oven or fireplace.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small galley or cookhouse on the deck of a small vessel.
  • n. The last car on a freight train, having cooking and sleeping facilities for the crew; a guard’s van.
  • n. buttocks

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A house on deck, where the cooking is done; -- commonly called the galley.
  • n. A car used on freight or construction trains as travelling quarters for brakemen, workmen, etc.; a tool car. It usually is the last car of the train.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The cook-room or kitchen on shipboard; a galley; specifically, the inclosed fireplace, hearth, or stove used for cooking on small vessels.
  • n. A car for the use of the conductor, brakemen, etc., on a freight-train.
  • n. An inclosed wagon for conveying workmen to mines.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the area for food preparation on a ship
  • n. a car on a freight train for use of the train crew; usually the last car on the train


Possibly from obsolete Dutch cabuse, ship's galley, from Middle Low German kabūse : perhaps *kab-, cabin; akin to Old French cabane; see cabin + Middle High German hūs, house.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • It is useful to point out the desired behavior in other children-"See how nicely that boy is playing with others"-but parents should refrain from adding what he calls the "caboose"-a phrase like "Why can't you do that?" What's News US

  • It is useful to point out the desired behavior in other children—"See how nicely that boy is playing with others"—but parents should refrain from adding what he calls the "caboose"—a phrase like "Why can't you do that?"

    Tantrum Tamer: New Ways Parents Can Stop Bad Behavior

  • And, sure enough, across the street was a bright red train caboose sitting on its own bit of track with nothing around it, carefully set up so that a child could climb up and play on the outside parts.

    Overheard at the Wright's Household

  • Feel like taking in a film at your favorite theatre but can’t find enough energy to move your caboose from the comfort of your cozy domestic den?

    ROCKY CHAIR by Guy Arzi | Inhabitat

  • In fact, a caboose is a caboose when it's a caboose.

    CNN Transcript Jan 17, 2009

  • COOPER: We're looking at the private car on the train, Wolf, mistakenly called a caboose earlier.

    CNN Transcript Jan 17, 2009

  • It looked like the caboose was attached to the engine as it wound around the track in a full circle.

    Chocolates for Charlie

  • "caboose" -- as the cook was jocularly termed -- ordered me about with a fierce exultation, that he had one white skin that he could command!

    Ran Away to Sea

  • In July, Corrado Calabro, head of Italy's telecommunications regulator Agcom, called Italy the "caboose" of European e-commerce because e-commerce generates only 3.9% of its GDP compared to the EU average of 5%.

    Italy's Fastweb Joins Rivals as Broadband Prices Fall

  • "Don't pull out until I get back," warned Jim, as he started on a trot toward one of the rear Pullmans, called a "caboose" by the flippant Bob.

    Frontier Boys in Frisco


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The kitchen on the deck of a ship.

    December 14, 2010

  • Pronounced Koodie-moose by my son when he was 2 years old. I am sad to say that now that his son is two years old, the caboose is a thing of the past and even though my grandson LOVES trains...he knows nothing of the wonders of the koodie-moose.

    A caboose (North American railway terminology) or brake van or guard's van (British terminology) is a manned rail transport vehicle coupled at the end of a freight train. Although cabooses were once used on nearly every freight train in North America, their use has declined and they are seldom seen on trains, except on locals and smaller railroads.

    The caboose provided the train crew with a shelter at the rear of the train. From here they could exit the train for switching or to protect the rear of the train when stopped. They also used windows to inspect the train for problems such as shifting loads, broken or dragging equipment, and overheated journals (hotboxes). The conductor kept records and otherwise conducted business from a table or desk in the caboose. For longer trips the caboose provided minimal living quarters.


    February 10, 2008