"Posh" (probably) does NOT stand for "port out, starboard home". MWCD10, p. 27a, says, "our editors frequently have to explain to correspondents that the dictionary fails to state that the origin of _posh_ is in the initial letters of the phrase 'port out, starboard home' -- supposedly a shipping term for the cooler accommodations on steamships plying between Britain and India from the mid-nineteenth century on -- not because the story is unknown to us but because no evidence to support it has yet been produced. Some evidence exists that casts strong doubt on it; the word is not known earlier than 1918 (in a source unrelated to shipping), and the acronymic explanation does not appear until 1935." A tenable theory is that "posh" meant "halfpenny" (from Romany _posh_ "half") and then "money" before acquiring its present meaning. Or it may come from the slang "pot" (= "big", "a person of importance"). Or it may be a contraction of "polished". I got e-mail from someone whose grandmother claimed to have seen steamship tickets with "P.O.S.H." overprinted. And William Safire's _I Stand Corrected_ (Times, 1984, ISBN 0-8129-01097-4) quotes a letter from an Ellen Thackara of Switzerland: "When I lived in the Orient the P.&O. (Pacific [sic] and Orient) Line out of London _did_ put beside the names of important people 'POSH', so they would have the cooler side of the ship." (The P&O is actually the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company; it's not clear whether the mistake is Thackara's or Safire's.) But to convince us, you'll have to *find* one of these tickets and send a copy to Merriam-Webster.
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