Origins of Words Catchy Content Writing

Word Bites: Where Did the Word Posh Come From?

For the second in this mini series, quite suitably named ‘Word Bites’, I’d like to touch upon the uncertain origins of the word posh.

Now, there are a fair few theories based around where this particular word  found its place in the wonderful world of vocabulary, and actually, there is no definitive answer.


n. The quality of being elegant, stylish, or upper class

Where did the word posh come from? As I said before, no one really knows for sure, but in the general spirit of fact, fiction, tale telling, debate and interpretation, here is my favourite explanation…

In 1920’s – 1930’s, wealthy, well-to-do passengers travelling by boat between England and India used to have abbreviation POSH clearly written against their bookings, which stood for ‘Port Out, Starboard Home‘ (basically the best possible place to be situated during a nautical journey).

As a result, this implication weaved its way into the English language as a way of identifying someone who is partial too and can afford the finer things in life – essentially someone of ‘upper class’.

posh origins of words

Although this particular theory has its flaws, I personally like it as in my head, it conjures a great deal of classic sea faring imagery – and this alone represents to me, the power of words.

So there you have it, my personal take on the word posh. This may not change your life, however, I do hope it has entertained you for a few moments- thanks for reading.

What do you think the word posh came from?

Image: Movie Stars and Rockets via Flickr


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