Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Fashionable or luxurious.
  • adjective Typical of the upper class, especially in the United Kingdom.
  • adjective Affectedly imitating characteristics of the upper class; pretentious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Associated with the upper classes.
  • adjective Stylish, elegant, exclusive (expensive).
  • adjective Snobbish, materialistic, prejudiced, under the illusion that they are better than everyone else. usually offensive. (especially in Scotland and Northern England)
  • interjection An exclamation expressing derision.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective elegant and fashionable

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably from earlier slang posh, halfpenny, money, dandy, from Romani (dialect of England) posh-hórri, halfpenny : posh, half (from Sanskrit pārśvam, region of the ribs, flank, side, from parśuḥ, rib) + hórra, hórri, penny.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown

Examples

  • He likes the idea of Waitrose being viewed as "luxury" and "aspirational", but finds the label "posh" frustrating.

    Poor, shy, sweet Diana? Don't make me laugh | Barbara Ellen

  • Meanwhile, Angela Brockway and other members of the reading group are struggling to carry on without their friend: There were about 14 of us who all used to sit round her big Victorian table in her conservatory with mugs of tea and coffee and piles of what we called 'posh' biscuits.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph

  • I always wondered, in a society where being "posh" is just about the worst sin out, if David Cameron's background - and even more the fact that he looks like a public school boy - would count against him.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Modi – the one-time commissioner and Lord High Everything of the Indian Premier League, and an occasional social acquaintance in posh London wine bars of Kevin Pietersen, much to the dismay of the England and Wales Cricket Board which has made it known that he should seek more appropriate company – has been suspended from the post while investigations take place into his business dealings.

    What now for Indian cricket in the post-Lalit Modi era?

  • They live in posh suburbs, and spend as much time as possible in comfy vacation homes or hunting cabins or whatever.

    Matthew Yglesias » Critique of Pure Yglesias

  • Refugees came to our area and acted like animals, robbing citizens, bringing dope with them, murdering people, spitting and cursing at the volunteers who were trying to help them at the shelters, because the government did not have them in posh hotel rooms.

    WH spokesperson on new health care reform developments

  • This mother-daughter matching outfits happens in posh areas of Sydney, Australia.

    jarretière

  • If it is true, as alleged, that Mr Sgarbi bedded Ms Klatten in posh hotels in Monte Carlo, Munich and elsewhere, he was sleeping with the enemy, with a cruel vendetta in mind.

    RNB QuickLinks: Heidi Klum, a noisy church burglar, and ‘Christian’ gossip

  • The father, especially in posh families, was largely absent or not to be disturbed.

    Girls Like Pink ...Fact

  • And I ... well I reverse engineer things I try in posh restaurants just for kicks.

    September 2006

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Good (but wholly spurious) folk etymology on this one.

    December 10, 2006

  • I find folk etymologies based on acronyms tiresome. They ignore the fact that acronyms weren't in wide use before the thirties. Besides, they're actually really easy to make and craft an over-complex story around. I'll do one right now!

    Bosh = bit of salted herring. Fishmongers used to commonly situate themselves near lecture halls, so herring snacks, an item commonly pelted at unconvincing speakers, became synonymous with their credibility.

    December 10, 2006

  • the false etymology for this ('port out, starboard home') has, by now, achieved the status of an urban legend

    February 14, 2007

  • If you don't mind, Minivet, I'm going to use your etymology for bosh. That would be a fun game, coming up with fake etymologies.

    February 15, 2007

  • OE sez:

    1918, of uncertain origin; no evidence for the common derivation from an acronym of port outward, starboard home, supposedly the shipboard accommodations of wealthy British traveling to India on the P & O Lines (to keep their cabins out of the sun); see objections outlined in G. Chowdharay-Best, "Mariner's Mirror," Jan. 1971.

    More likely from slang posh "a dandy" (1890), from thieves' slang meaning "money" (1830), originally "coin of small value, halfpenny," possibly from Romany posh "half."

    December 7, 2007

  • Wonderful comment and fake etymology from someone who mysteriously only ever listed 8 words.

    December 7, 2007

  • ...'member Johnson Clark?

    used to dress up like

    a posh country gent,

    called his dummy Hodge.

    'member 'Prof' D'Alvo?...

    - Peter Reading, 5x5x5x5x5, 1983

    July 1, 2008

  • "Salespeople competed for attendees’ attention with posh enticements of moleskin-type notebooks and tote bags"

    Source: The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?

    January 22, 2018