The whole shebang


We know in common use it means all, or everything; especially everything under consideration;  but where did this term come from?


There are numerous derivations but perhaps the most likely is that a shebang was a public hire vehicle (carriage) often with bench seats. The poor would rent a seat, families perhaps a whole bench and the rich might rent the whole carriage………….. or “the whole shebang”. And thus first used it may have been to describe wealth, he could afford “the whole shebang”.


Somebody called me a Gongoozler; should I be insulted?


Well it depends on your interpretation. The Oxford English Dictionary describes a Gongoozler as “an Idle spectator”; so is that you?


But what of the word’s origin? Again the OED cites it as early 20th century (originally denoting a person who idly watched activity on a canal); rare before 1970: perhaps from Lincolnshire dialect gawn and gooze ‘stare, gape’.