Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was the thing to do for Englishmen and women to go to India for holiday vacation. They went by steamship. In those days, having a tan was not meant for the upper class, because it meant that one was a manual laborer or field worker. The route to India meant that the ship went out with the afternoon sun the hottest and most likely to tan one on the right or starboard side.
And returning from India the afternoon sun was on the left or port side. The ticket person would stamp P. Eventually, one had only to ask for POSH. Thus, the word became part of the language to mean better accommodations … for a price. Supposedly, on the outward trip England to India , cabins on the port left side had greater benefit of the sea breeze and better shelter from the harsh sun, whereas cabins on the starboard right side enjoyed those benefits on the inbound India to England trip.
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Sometimes the tale includes the detail that the denizens of higher society of those days had to strive to maintain their whiter than white complexions because sporting a tan was a sign of membership in the lower classes. The sea journey between these two countries was lengthy and not undertaken lightly by travelers, so once folks arrived in India they tended to stay there for months, even years. Sensible people would therefore not lock themselves into firm return dates, instead choosing to book return passage only when they were ready to go home. Second, the monsoon winds that ships traversing the route between England and India were subject to shift from winter to summer, so the sheltered and exposed sides of a ship change seasonally.
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This would have been the trip of a lifetime to at least some of those who took it, so such travel documents, had they existed, would have made their way into any number of scrapbooks or fancy boxes wherein folks stored their keepsakes. As mentioned earlier, posh has a murky beginning. In the final analysis, we have no port, no starboard, and no peaches and cream complexions in danger of being roasted into lower class brownness by the harshness of the noon day sun. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn.
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Port Out, Starboard Home
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Do Ants Have Assholes? Gervase Phinns Mangled English. The Story of English. The most detailed and colorful account of the acronym in our files is a letter from a retired mariner who recalled in considerable detail including the violet letters how in he had seen such a P. He had missed his P. This man, a European official employed by the Chinese government, had booked his trip in Hong Kong and was thus making the round-trip in a direction opposite to that of the English gentry on their way to the Raj. According to the theory, his ticket should have been stamped S.
But the writer recalls a violet P. I was inspired by the book No More Naughty, where to learn the meaning of words, the children were asked to make up their own definitions first and vote for the most plausible sounding one. All listings for this product Buy it now Buy it now. Or that 'rule of thumb' comes from an archaic legal principle that a man may chastise his wife, but only with a rod no thicker than his thumb?
Doesn't the Word "posh" come from "port out, starboard home"?
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Published July 1st by Penguin Books Ltd first published. And come to think of it, why would the P.
Nautical Slang in Common Usage
Surely they must have known the location of every cabin by its number. And no evidence of its use has yet appeared.
We further conclude, then, that the acronymic theory of the origin of the adjective posh is simply a modern invention. There are other theories to account for posh , one of which has been accepted by a few dictionaries. This explanation connects posh with English university slang from around the turn of the century.