[Dixielandjazz] Re: Pommy

Bill Haesler bhaesler@nsw.bigpond.net.au
Fri, 30 Aug 2002 10:26:48 +1000

Dear Henry,
The latest posts about 'Strine' reminded me that I did not answer your quer=
about the word 'Pommy'.
My apologies.
'Pom' or 'Pommy' is what we Australians affectionately call an Englishman. =
(so far as I am concerned) a 'Brit' as mentioned in the article below.
Never a Scot (a Jock), Welshman (a Taffy) or North Irishman (a Paddy). 
Yorkshiremen are another matter and ARE included in the 'Pom' definition.
The English can also be referred to, in fun, as "bloody Poms', but never as
'whingeing Poms" (unless you are looking for a fight).
The late, great Spike Milligan (of Goon Show fame) coined the word 'Pomgoli=
meaning England (where the Poms come from).
I have always loved this and use it regularly - in fun.
The term Poms is commonly used to describe the English cricket team.
OKOM content. Poms and Aussies play pretty good jazz!
Kind regards,

Here is some more reading from the Urban Legends site, but IMO is not

Claim: =A0 "Pommy" (or "pom"), a slang term for a British person, comes from =
acronym POHM, which was used to designate a "Prisoner of His Majesty." 
Status: =A0 False. 
Origins: =A0 "Pommy" (or "pom" or "pommie") is a primarily Australian (and la=
derisive) slang term used to indicate a recent immigrant from Great Britain=
, or 
a Brit in general. The origins of "pommy" having been lost in the mists of =
someone needed to cook up an etymology for it, preferably one equal to the
pejorative sense of the word. Accordingly, we now have the story that crimi=
transported to Australia were designated "Prisoners of His Majesty" or
"Prisoners of Mother England" (some versions claim the convicts bore one of
these legends printed on the backs of their shirts), and thus the acronym "=
or "POME" eventually evolved into the slang term "pom" or "pommy." 
This amusing anecdote is doubtful as anything more than a fanciful inventio=
n, as
acronymic origins antedating the mid-twentieth century are automatically
suspect, and the use of "pommy" has been recorded at least as far back as 1=
Moreover, nobody has yet turned up corroborating evidence that "Prisoner of=
Majesty" or "Prisoners of Mother England" were actually common designations=
criminals transported to Australia. The best guess at this time is that "po=
was based on the word "pomegranate" -- either because the redness of the fr=
supposedly matched the typically florid British complexion, or because (lik=
"Johnny Grant") it was used as rhyming slang for "immigrant."