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Where'd that phrase come from? #40

Created date

January 3rd, 2012


While etymologists are not completely certain about the origins of this word, the alleged story behind it is interesting enough to give it a go. It is said that wealthy passengers sailing from England typically had their tickets stamped with P.O.S.H, an acronym for Port Out, Starboard Home. This, apparently, indicated the most desirable cabins because they were on the shady side of the ship. In time, the word fell into common usage as a reference for lavish settings and lifestyles. Joe lived in a one bedroom apartment; that is, until he hit the lottery. With his newfound wealth, he bought himself a posh penthouse in Manhattan.

Flea market 

This term, commonly associated with the yard sales of suburban America, actually comes from France. The original phrasemarche aux puces(which, translated, is a variation of open-air market) was given to a Parisian market known to sell second-hand goods so ragged and used that they looked as though they had fleas. From this we eventually arrived at flea market, a phrase used with such frequency that we rarely stop to consider its more literal basis. ' Sometimes you can find neat stuff at a flea market, but usually it s a bunch of junk.


Originally, this word got its start as an abbreviation of the Latinsine nobilitateor without nobility. Around the turn of the 19th century, snob had become a frequent reference to those who lacked breeding or social status. But over the years, our usage of the word evolved and came to refer to those who possessed an overstated admiration for wealth and high society. To this day, that is exactly how we use it. ' I asked him to go out for a burger, but being a snob, he would have none of it. It was steak and caviar or nothing at all.


The term hoodwinked dates back as far as the 16th century and, not surprisingly, involves hoods. Thieves looking to take their victims by surprise would resort to pulling the person s hood over his eyes in order to blind him long enough to pick his pockets and maybe lift his purse or satchel. ' Today, we use the term in reference to the act of being taken or bamboozled. ' The firm lost its IPO because it hoodwinked potential investors with false financial information.