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See also: Posh




Most likely derived from Romani posh (half), either because posh-kooroona (half a crown) (originally a substantial sum of money) was used metaphorically for anything pricey or upper-class, or because posh-houri (half-penny) came to refer to money generally.

A period slang dictionary defines "posh" as a term used by thieves for "money : generic, but specifically, a halfpenny or other small coin".[1] An example is given from James Payn's The Eavesdropper (1888): "They used such funny terms: 'brads,' and 'dibbs,' and 'mopusses,' and 'posh' ... at last it was borne in upon me that they were talking about money."[2]

Evidence exists for a slang sense from the 1890s meaning dandy, which is quite possibly related.[3]

A popular folk etymology holds that the term is an acronym for "port out, starboard home",[4] describing the cooler, north-facing cabins taken by the most aristocratic or rich passengers travelling from Britain to India and back. However, there is no evidence for this claim.[5]

It could also possibly be a clipping of polished.[6][7]

See also the articles mentioned in the References section below for additional discussion.



posh (comparative posher or more posh, superlative poshest or most posh)

  1. Associated with the upper classes.
    She talks with a posh accent.
  2. Stylish; elegant; exclusive; luxurious; expensive.
    Coordinate term: plush
    After the performance, they went out to a very posh restaurant.
  3. (usually offensive, especially in Ireland, Scotland, Northern England) Snobbish, materialistic, prejudiced, under the illusion that one is better than everyone else.
    We have a right posh git moving in next door.


  • 1919: "Well, it ain't one of the classic events. It were run over there." Docker jerked a thumb vaguely in the direction of France. "At a 'Concours Hippique,' which is posh for 'Race Meeting.' — Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, June 18, 1919

Derived terms[edit]




  1. An exclamation expressing derision.
    • 1889: "The czar! Posh! I slap my fingers--I snap my fingers at him." — Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Was

Derived terms[edit]


posh (countable and uncountable, plural poshes)

  1. (uncountable) fragments produced by an impact
  2. (uncountable) slush
  3. (countable, UK, slang, obsolete) A halfpenny or other coin of little value.
  4. (uncountable, UK, slang, obsolete) Money.


posh (third-person singular simple present poshes, present participle poshing, simple past and past participle poshed)

  1. (normally in the phrasal verb posh up) To make posh, or posher.
    Synonym: poshen


  • posh”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
  • (halfpenny; money): John Camden Hotten (1873) The Slang Dictionary
  1. ^ Slang and its Analogues Past and Present, volume 5 (London, 1902), John S. Farmer and W.E. Henley (editors), page 261
  2. ^ James, Payn (1888) The Eavesdropper: An Unparalleled Experience[1], New York: Harper & brothers, page 78
  3. ^ Michael Quinion (1996–2024) “Posh”, in World Wide Words.
  4. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22378819
  5. ^ snopes.com, [2]
  6. ^ Martin, Gary (2011 May 9) POSH[3]
  7. ^ Jennings, Ken (2012) The Debunker: Is The Word "Posh" An Acronym?[4]





  1. cat


Alternative forms[edit]


From Old Armenian փոշի (pʻoši). Doublet of poshík.



  1. dust


  • Ačaṙean, Hračʻeay (1979) “փոշի”, in Hayerēn armatakan baṙaran [Armenian Etymological Dictionary] (in Armenian), 2nd edition, a reprint of the original 1926–1935 seven-volume edition, volume IV, Yerevan: University Press, page 517a
  • Vaillant, Jean-Alexandre (1868) “pos'”, in Grammaire, dialogues et vocabulaire de la langue des Bohémiens ou Cigains (in French), Paris: Maisonneuve, page 123a