From Pooh-Bah, a comic character in the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Mikado (1885), formed as pooh + bah, both expressing contempt. Libretto by W. S. Gilbert, preceded by character Pish-Tush-Pooh-Bah (described as “haughty”) in “King Borriah Bungalee Boo” (1866), one of the Bab Ballads, with pish and tush other terms of contempt.
poobah (plural poobahs)
- A person who holds multiple offices or positions of power at the same time.
- A leader or other important person.
- A pompous, self-important person.