Is It Rude to Call Someone “Posh”

What do you think of when someone says the word “posh”? Do you imagine a rich, upper-class family? Or perhaps you picture an expensive hotel or restaurant.

These are probably some of your first associations with posh if you’re like many people.

It is rude to call a person “posh” as it expresses an allusion to wealth that is not self-earned. Calling places or restaurants “posh,” on the other hand, is fine if it is common practice among the relevant group of people.

Is It Rude to Call Someone Posh?

If a friend has recently moved from London to Scotland, for example, and their speech sounds a bit more British than Scottish, you might want to tread carefully before calling them posh or even British (they might not take offense).

On the other hand, if someone behaves in a way that is perceived as being overly refined or pretentious (for instance: they don’t eat in public because they think others will judge them), then calling them posh would be acceptable within most contexts; it would simply mean that their behavior is different from yours.

It would also depend on where people were gathered when such an offense was committed. If everyone present were rich people who felt comfortable eating their food with their mouths open and talking about how much money they had earned last year as compared to this one, then using the word “posh” would probably mean something like “I think we got along well today!”

Posh Meaning

Posh is an adjective that describes someone who’s well-spoken and wealthy. It can be used as a noun or an adjective, but it’s usually used to describe how someone speaks, dresses, or acts. Posh is slang in the United Kingdom and Ireland; it means “expensive,” “unusual,” or “exclusive.”

In British English, posh describes something that is high class and refined-a posh person might speak with an accent (like Anna Wintour), wear designer clothes (like Kate Middleton), or live in a big house (like Prince William).

A person could also say they’re going to eat some posh food for dinner tonight!

The Origin of Posh

Posh is an abbreviation of the word “port out, starboard home.” This phrase describes the seating arrangement on a ship in the old days, whereby British passengers sailing first class would be on the more comfortable seats of the ship.

In this context, posh was originally used to describe passengers who paid more money to travel in first-class accommodation.

Fast forward several hundred years, and we still use posh to describe people who belong to higher social classes.

A Cold War Between Classes?

As with other forms of wealth and class, being posh is a status symbol. The higher you rise above the social ladder, the more likely you will be perceived as an outcast.

Psychologists have long pondered the question: Why do the rich hate the poor? And why do they ornate the rich? [1]

It’s not just the super-rich who find themselves at the top of hierarchies-it’s also their offspring. As noted by The Guardian in 2018, in Britain, class markers and accents matter more than credentials, and kids go on to do exactly what their fathers did. [2]

And then there’s this from a Reddit thread on how people perceive being posh: “I’ve been told I’m ‘too posh’ simply because my parents have an accent, and I went to private school (which has a 50% British/English population).” [3]

Different Situations and What to Say

It depends on the context

For example, calling someone “posh” might be perfectly fine (and even endearing) in a conversation about food. But it’s best to avoid it altogether if you’re talking about people in general and aren’t sure if your use of the word is appropriate.

It depends on the person

If you know someone well enough to call them “posh,” they’ll understand that you mean no harm by it-even if they don’t like being called “posh.”

On the other hand, if your acquaintance doesn’t know you very well or has made clear that she feels uncomfortable with any mention of wealth or class differences around her, then it makes sense not to say anything at all about her background or upbringing.

It depends on the situation

When we’re speaking casually with friends or acquaintances who know us well enough to accept these kinds of comments from us (but still behave appropriately), then we can often get away with saying things like “You’re so posh!” without much risk of offending anyone involved-unless they happen not to be fond of such remarks!

When Not to Call Someone Posh

When unsure if someone is posh, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using the word. Avoid calling people who aren’t posh “posh,” too: If a friend has never called herself or others this way, don’t start now.

If you have no idea what someone’s background is, don’t assume that they are entitled because of their last name, clothes, or accent (or lack thereof). And if they do happen to be a wealthy person but dislike the term “posh,” steer clear altogether!

Example Phrases to Use Instead of Posh

Instead of saying, “She’s so posh,” say:

“She’s so privileged.”

You’ll be making a better point, and you’ll sound less like an asshole.

Instead of saying, “That store is so posh,” say:

“That store is so stylish.”

It conveys the same sentiment without being offensive.

Instead of saying, “You’re so posh,” say something like:

“You’re so blessed” / “You’re really lucky,”

and then explain why! If you’re using this phrase as an insult and not simply pointing out that someone was born into money (which is also bad), then it’s probably best to just keep your mouth shut.

Proceed with Caution

It’s common knowledge that the word posh is often used as an insult to describe a person who comes from a privileged background. However, many people don’t realize that it’s also rude and offensive to use the word this way.

This can be very confusing: after all, what makes an insult an insult? Why do some words offend people while others are okay? And why are there so many different ways of offending people?

Rather than using a general term like posh (or any other generic label), try thinking about specific things about their job or their interests to describe them more accurately.

For example, if you want to call someone rich or well-off without sounding offensive, say:

“Jenny’s father is one of the richest men in town.”

This is much less likely than calling her “posh” or using any other shorthand for wealth or social status, and it will help avoid confusion over whether or not she grew up with maids and butlers!


There are many different reasons that someone may be called posh – we don’t mean to say that there are only two types of people in this world, but often their upbringing has something to do with it.

For example, if someone grew up on an estate surrounded by wealth, they might feel proud about who they are and not want anyone else calling them common!