Most likely derived from Romani posh, either because posh-kooroona (originally a substantial sum of money) was used metaphorically for anything pricey or upper-class, or because posh-houri became a general term for money.
A period slang dictionary defines "posh" as a term used by thieves for "money : generic, but specifically, a halfpenny or other small coin". An example is given from Page's Eavesdropper (1888): "They used such funny terms: 'brads,' and 'dibbs,' and 'mopusses,' and 'posh' ... at last it was borne in upon me that they were talking about money."
Evidence exists for a slang sense from the 1890s meaning [[dandy#Noun, which is quite possibly related.
A popular folk etymology holds that the term is an acronym for "port out, starboard home", describing the cooler, north-facing cabins taken by the most aristocratic or rich passengers travelling from Britain to India and back. However, there is no evidence for this claim.
It could also possibly be a .
See also the articles mentioned in the References section below for additional discussion.
Modern English dictionary
Explore and search massive catalog of over 900,000 word meanings.
Word of the Day
Get a curated memorable word every day.
Level up your vocabulary by setting personal goals.