What does “everything but the kitchen sink” mean?

Explore the meaning and usage of the idiom 'everything but the kitchen sink.' Learn how it originated, its synonyms, and examples of its use in everyday situations.

Understanding the Idiom

Definition and Usage

The idiom “everything but the kitchen sink” is a phrase used to describe a situation where a person takes or includes nearly everything possible.

It refers to including everything imaginable, including the kitchen sink, or just about everything under the sun.

The phrase can also be used to describe a situation where a person takes much more than necessary or a very large number of things, whether needed or not.

The idiom can also be used to describe situations where a person is overdoing things, such as packing or preparing their household.

If someone is being pedantic or overly prepared with their actions, the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” is a great way to tell them to stop doing so.

Historical Context

The origin of the idiom “everything but the kitchen sink” is not clear, but it is believed to have originated in the United States in the early 1900s.

It was first used in a military context to describe the amount of equipment soldiers carried with them during World War II.

Soldiers would often carry everything they could, including the kitchen sink, to ensure they were prepared for any situation.

Over time, the idiom became more commonly used in everyday language to describe situations where a person is taking or including nearly everything possible.

Examples

  • When he moved out of the house, he took along everything but the kitchen sink with him, meaning he took just about everything he owned.
  • She packed everything under the sun for her vacation, including the kitchen sink, even though she knew she wouldn’t need most of it.
  • The company’s new CEO is trying to change everything imaginable about the company, including the kitchen sink, to turn it around.

Synonyms

  • Everything and the kitchen sink
  • Every last thing
  • The whole shebang