Where does the word ‘posh’ come from?

Where else than Britain are the elegant and well-to-do described as ‘posh’?

Where does the word ‘posh’ come from? © Getty Images

The origins of the word definitely lurk inside the last couple of centuries of Britain’s history, but where exactly is uncertain.


Yet the most popular story comes from the days of the Raj in India. It was a time when wealthy Brits would sail to India so they could enjoy a holiday in an exotic part of the empire.

On the boat journey out, the most comfortable berths were on the left-hand side, or port, as it would be in the shade and a little cooler. Therefore, the right, or starboard, rooms were best for the return journey.


So if holidaymakers were discussing an upcoming trip, all they would have to remember for the voyage was ‘Port out, starboard home’, or posh.

This article was first published in the September 2015 issue of History Revealed.