Posh is a faintly derogative word for upper class and one still meets people who believe that it is an acronym for port out, starboard home relating to travel by ship from Britain to India via the Suez Canal where a cabin on the portside for the outward journey would give protection from the tropical sun, and vice versa for the homeward journey. Some of these same people will also maintain golf is an acronym for gentlemen only, ladies forbidden. These and similar folk etymologies are spurious and it is very sad and boring to hear them repeatedly. As so often happens with slang, the exact origin of posh is obscure but there are several candidate theories. Eric Partridge favours an origin based on grammatical syncopation, which in etymology means the deliberate omission of a syllable. He maintains posh comes from polish where the middle syllable has been omitted, posh people generally exhibiting a certain amount of polish. Another theory is that it comes from a once-popular book Diary of a Nobody published in 1892 by George and Weedon Grossmith that introduces a character called Murray Posh who was a bit of a swell. The only problem with this is that the word posh was in use long before 1892 and the Grossmiths were probably personifying an existing word rather than coining a new one. Eric Partridge’s theory on the other hand is interesting but largely unsupported. The most favoured theory is that it derives from the Romany word posh, which means half. Gypsies used the word posh to refer to the halfpenny. By the early 19th century, posh had become common slang for money in general, especially among the lower classes. The move from money to people with money or upper class seems but a small and logical step. The OED records posh as slang for smart, swell, fine or splendid, dating from 1918, adding that it possibly derives from earlier 19th century slang for money or a dandy. The OED at least lends some credibility to the Romany/slang origin.