To announce all of a company’s bad financial news at one time.
Job cuts and a dividend reduction are thought to have already been factored into the share price. Equity salesmen believe that there is also little that could be said to push the shares higher on the day as the management has already kitchen-sinked the business and parted with Mariah Carey, one of its most expensive stars.
—Alex Jackson-Proes, "Hedge funds rush to pick up EMI's tune," The Daily Telegraph, March 15, 2002
Mr Anderson declined to comment last week on the extent of losses. But analysts said they would include massive write-downs of assets, substantial provisions for future contracts and hefty reorganisation costs. ''There's going to be a lot of kitchen-sinking in the results and they'll look terrible,'' said Peter Knox of Salomon Brothers.
—Martin Winn, "Ferranti set to unveil big losses," The Independent, July 15, 1990
There's also a second, much rarer, sense for this verb: When arguing or fighting with a partner, to complain not only about a recent problem, but also about numerous past problems. Here's the earliest citation for this sense:
There's a whole chapter in the Hite book on unfair tactics men use in fights ... withdrawal, ridicule, teasing, emotional violence. But there's no mention of the classic female tactics ... like "kitchen-sinking", where she drags in ammunition from every battle they have ever fought, dredging her elephantine memory for past hurts, never-forgotten sins he once committed.
—Bettina Arndt, "Are men really so terrible?," Sun Herald, November 8, 1987
This verb is based on the idiom everything but the kitchen sink, which hails from World War II. (Back then it referred to a heavy bombardment in which it appeared the enemy was firing everything but the kitchen sink.) The verb is based on a sensible strategy: If a company must divulge some bad news in its financial results, then it might as well bring all of its fiscal skeletons out of the accounting closet. The reasoning is that although the company's share price may drop a bit more than it otherwise would, it will drop far less than if the company announced each bit of bad news separately.