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Re: Ps & Qs and folk etymology
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: Ps & Qs and folk etymology
- From: Terry Belanger <belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 17:04:21 -0500
- In-reply-to: <199802020344.WAA189352@poe.acc.Virginia.EDU>
- Message-id: <199802022205.OAA00281@lindy.stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: The list for all the book arts!" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
At 10:44 PM 2/1/98 -0500, you wrote:
>John Ciardi (A Browser's Dictionary) discusses POSH. He does talk about
>the maritime definition (which, BTW I always accepted) and disputes its
>accuracy. It was said to be applied to ships of the Peninsula and
>Eastern steamship line during passage to India through the Suez Canal.
>He states that the acronym is correct for east-west passage. However, he
>goes on to contend that due to the monsoons only the season can determine
>which side is sheltered. Apparently veterans of the Peninsula and
>Eastern had never heard of the term.
>More importantly, he sates that there is an earlier origin for the word.
>To make a long paragraph short, he races the origin through British Gypsies
>where it referred to half. From the Gypsies, British rogues used
>compounds such as hosh-houri (half-pence), and posh-kooroona
>(half-crown). Posh became associated with money amongst thieves with,
>over time, meaning shifting to swank, etc.
Ah yes. As the character in _Promenade_ says,
I know everything
Everything I know
Half the things I REALLY know--
The rest I make up.
Thanks for your interesting message! -tb
Terry Belanger : University Professor : University of Virginia
Book Arts Press : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA 22903
Tel: 804/924-8851 FAX: 804/924-8824 email: belanger@xxxxxxxxxxxx