Steamship was the way to travel. The best was was to be on the port side going out to sea and on the starboard side on the way home. That is what POSH means. Port outbound, starboard home. POSH was the best way to travel aboard a steamship. Now, it means something else. Elegant or fancy. Even “dressed up.”
Once, it meant choosing the best room on the steamship carrying you on your worldwide travels. I would like to travel POSH. Wouldn’t you?
A VERY SHORT TALE OF THE SEA
Once upon a time, there was a great sea captain. Every morning, before he talked to his crew, he went to his safe, took out an envelope. He then read its contents, nodded, and moved on with his day. He never told anyone what was in that envelope. Not surprisingly, after his death, everyone wanted to know what was in the envelope. And so they opened it. It said: PORT IS LEFT
I was always taught by people I knew who sailed that the most comfortable cabins were always “port out, starboard home.” I never met a sea-going person who did not know this. It has to do with how the ship takes oncoming waves or the position of the sun on the deck of the ship. Only the wealthy could afford two separate cabins, one for outward bound and the other heading for home.
The dictionaries have lost the original meaning of the term, but now you know.