Monday, November 28, 2016
Word of the Week - Posh
A quick but fun one, especially in context. =)
So, y'all probably know my current series is about thieves. I'm have SO much fun with this. And working pretty hard to make sure each main-character-thief views the world differently than her/his "sister" did in the previous one. But one thing they're all destined to have in common is noting the rather huge difference in 1914 between the upper class and the common worker. As I was searching for the right words to describe something, I wanted to use posh.
Upon looking it up to make sure it was old enough, I discovered that, in fact, its first appearance in print was actually in 1914! Here's the fun part, though. Despite claims from the 50s that the word is actually an acronym for "port outward, starboard home" (to describe accommodations on luxury steamers), it's not--it is, in fact, taken from thieves' jargon!
Posh actually dates from the 1830s as a word for "money," particularly a coin of small value (thought to come from the Romany posh, which means "half"). By the 1850s, it was also being applied to people--the so-called dandies. From there, it was another 60 years or so before it became an adjective, though in 1903 we see an occurrence or two of the variation push.
So that of course seals it, that it came from thieves. I had to use it. ;-)