pahsh • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: Luxurious, fashionably fine, superbly appointed.
Notes: Today's Good Word sports an adverb, poshly, and a predictable noun, poshness. Since it has only one syllable, it can be compared the old-fashioned way, posher, poshest.
In Play: Today's word refers to highest point on the 'upscale' register: "Frieda Livery told her husband that the apartments in The Harry Arms simply were not posh enough for someone of their wealth and caliber." Of course, the perception of poshness is subjective and personal: "Bobby Lou's impression of a posh restaurant is one that gives its customers whole paper napkins."
Word History: The first published instance of today's Good Word appeared in the September 25, 1918 issue of the British humor magazine, Punch: "Oh yes, Mater, we had a posh time of it down there." Since then, the guessing game as to its origin has gotten out of control. The speculations include the Romany (Gypsy) word pash "half-penny" and the late 19th century noun posh "dandy". The most persistent story of all is the urban legend that it is an acronym for Port Out, Starboard Home, a phrase purportedly stamped on the tickets of exclusive passengers reserving the cooler side of the ships sailing between England and India way back when. However, no one has succeeded in producing an example of such a ticket as of this writing. (Today we offer our poshest gratitude to Jewell Halwachs, the Monterey Girl of the Alpha Agora, who was generous enough to suggest it.)
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