Everything but the Kitchen Sink – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone that they are overdoing things? Maybe you want to tell them that you’re giving it everything you’ve got? If so, you could use the expression “everything but the kitchen sink.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The expression “everything but the kitchen sink” means that you’re taking every possible solution you can think of in a situation.

It can also refer to overdoing things, such as packing or preparing your household. If someone is being pedantic or overly prepared with their actions, the phrase is a great way to tell them to reconsider what they are doing.

If you tell someone that you’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the problem. It means that you’re out of options, and you don’t have any idea how to proceed.

Usually, the saying means that you’re giving it your best effort, but nothing seems to work in your favor.

Example Usage

“Wow, why do you need two suitcases for a weekend trip? Are you taking everything but the kitchen sink?”

“Man, that prospect was tough. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at them, and they still refused to sign the deal. I need to work on my closing skills.”

“She threw everything but the kitchen sink into her performance; it was admirable to see her trying so hard.”

“I fought the number two contender last night. He has some real skills. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at him and couldn’t find a gap.”

“This plan covers all the bases. We’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it to secure the best outcome possible.”

“We’re doing everything we can right now to stop the cyberattack. We’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the exploit, but the hackers keep bombarding us with a DDOS attack.”

“Let’s throw everything but the kitchen sink at this problem. I want it solved by tomorrow, or you’re all fired.”

Origin

The expression “everything but the kitchen sink” comes from the early 1900s. The first use of the saying in print comes from The Syracuse Herald in 1918.

“Everything but the kitchen sink” went on to become a popular saying during the Second World War. The phrase would describe how allies would “throw everything but the kitchen sink” at enemies to force them to retreat or surrender.

The variant “everything but the kitchen stove” might be the original origin of the saying. This expression first appeared in the Jeffersonville National Democrat in 1894.

It’s not clear when the saying changed to its modern nomenclature. However, the phrase went on to integrate into modern language, and it’s a common phrase used today to describe over-doing something.

Phrases Similar to Everything but the Kitchen Sink

  • The whole shebang.
  • The whole enchilada.
  • Better safe than sorry.
  • The whole nine yards.

Phrases Opposite to Everything but the Kitchen Sink

  • You’re packing light.
  • Why bother.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Everything but the kitchen sink.

Ways People May Say Everything but the Kitchen Sink Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with a kitchen sink. It’s a way of telling someone that they are overdoing things. Using the saying to describe anything occurring in the kitchen or around the sink is incorrect.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Everything but the Kitchen Sink

You can use “everything but the kitchen sink” in social and professional situations. It’s a way of telling someone that they are overly prepared.

When you’re packing for a trip, you could use the phrase to describe taking more clothing with you than you need. You could use it at work to explain how you tried every selling tactic you know to close the client.

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