Etymythology of posh, P. O. S. H.

Gerald Cohen gcohen at MST.EDU
Mon Sep 12 01:55:28 UTC 2011

Here's a bibliographical reference for the discussion
of P.O.S.H.:
J. Peter Maher: "_Posh_". In: _Studies in Slang_, part (= vol.) 1,
edited by Gerald Leonard Cohen. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.,
1985, pp. 64-65.

Maher discusses and rejects the Port-Out-Starboard-Home etymology and
suggests instead: "Everyone familiar with London speech
knows that the _l_ of words like _milk_, _I'll_, _well_ and
such are 'gulped'... Londoners, in particular the Cockneys,
pronounce the verb _to polish_ as _pawsh_, to write it in an American
fashion, or _posh_ to give the authentic, if non-standard, British spelling.
The verb is fully conjugated: "I, you, we, they _posh_; he, she, it
_poshes_; it is, they are _poshed_ types, or live in _posh(ed)_ digs.

Maher goes on to derive the adjective _posh_ from this _posh(ed)_,
i.e.., ultimately from _polish_."

Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society -

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