Etymology of Words: The Origin of P.O.S. H

Etymology of Words: The Origin of P.O.S. H

A word that many Londoners or English use is the word posh. In British culture, something posh is elegant or stylishly luxurious; somebody or something typical of the upper class. ” Posh” is an acronym for “Port Out, Starboard Home.

Here are some examples I have overheard in everyday speech where the word posh is used, abused and overused. I really wish people would vary their slang, it gets quite boring to hear that word posh used so liberally, without much rumination or deliberation.

Some Examples of using posh in a sentence:

1. I really don’t like those ladies with their fake posh (pretentiously aristocratic) accents they sound like Madonna when she was the Queen of England.

2.Those girls with their posh (upper-class) accents really get on my tits
(they are annoying me)!!.

3.Sasha:” That is a really posh (expensive)handbag!”
Chloe: “Thanks darling, they only sell it at the very posh ( the very chic)Harrods.”

4. I just ate at Claridges the most posh (elegantly) restaurant in Mayfair.

5. Lady Darlington: At that low brow garden party the host is so posh( stuck up), he didn’t even kiss my hand when we were introduced.
Lord Fitzwilliam: Oh the nouveau riche are so posh (prentiously superior)(HA!)

So,what is the origin of the word posh?

The story goes that the more well-to-do passengers travelling to and from India used to have POSH written against their bookings, standing for ‘Port Out, Starboard Home’ (indicating the more desirable cabins, on the shady side of the ship). Unfortunately, this story did not make its appearance until the 1930s, when the term had been in use for some twenty years, and the word does not appear to have been recorded in the form The best known and most widely believed story is that it comes from old-time ship travel from Britain to India on the packet boats run by the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Company. It supposedly stood for “Port Out, Starboard Home”. It is explained that somebody who had a cabin on the port side on the outward trip, and on the starboard side on the return trip, had the benefit of the sea breeze, and shelter from the sun, on the hottest part of the journey through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Such cabins were reserved for the most wealthy passengers, we are told, and the P&O company stamped their tickets with POSH to show their status. ‘P.O.S.H.’, which would be expected if it had originated as an abbreviation. Despite exhaustive enquiries by the late Mr George Chowdharay-Best, researcher for the OED, including interviews with former travellers and inspection of shipping company documents, no supporting evidence has been found.

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