My understanding is that there are a couple of words that were derived from sailing, one being “posh” and the other being “news.” What are the true origins of these words, and is it true that they are derived from sail of old?
The origin of posh” is obscure.The most seen explanation for the origin ascribes it to the days of the British Empire in the 19th (and early 20th) century when there was constant steamship travel between England and India. In those pre-air conditioning days, it was unbearably hot crossing the Indian Ocean, and the coolest cabins were the most sought after. That meant, when traveling east, those on the port side; sailing west, those on the starboard. Consequently, those passengers who could afford the luxury booked “Port Outward/Starboard Homeward” or “P.O.S.H.” The acronym thus became a synonym for whatever is first-class or luxurious. A more likely definition is that it is a word from Romany, the language of Gypsies, meaning half. The word originally entered England’s underworld in the 17th century in such compounds as posh-houri, meaning half-pence, and soon became a slang term for money in general. And then the meaning changed to expensive or fancy.”News” has no nautical origin that we know of. It’s the plural of “new” and is from the old French word for new — noveles. Its original meaning was “new things, novelties,” and eventually came to encompass “tidings, or an account of recent events and occurrences brought as new information.” Now we use it in the singular form, but until this century the plural form was used.”
More Like This