pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Discuss word origins and meanings.

pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by dalehileman » Sun Jun 26, 2005 3:33 pm

Thanks to Pingpong in thread "something amiss"
Isn't it almost exclusively an offshore expression
What does it mean and why is Mel Gibson guilty of it
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:17 pm

Dale, From a guy who never heard of POM BASHING, but who is quick with a dictionary:

POMMY: also POMMIE, POM (often capitalized): 1) noun – A usually derogatory/disparaging term used in Australia and New Zealand for a British person, especially one who is a recent immigrant. 2) adjective – Of or pertaining to a Pommy, British, English, often as a term of affectionate abuse as in POMMY BASTARD [l.c.].'

POMMYLAND [cap.] (in Australia & New Zealand): Britain, England

Etymology: The earliest appearance in print of this expression is from 1913. The most widely held derivation, for which, however, there is no firm evidence, is that which connects it with ‘pomegranate.’ However, the following anecdotal story provides a seemingly fairly convincing explanation of how this came about. The earliest appearance in print of this expression is from 1913:

THE POMMIES: OR NEW CHUMS in AUSTRALIA (1920) by H. J. Rumsey

Introduction: Few people seem to know the origin of the word, but I can well remember its introduction in the early seventies [[1870s]] . . . Thousands of immigrants were arriving by the old clipper ships, and the colonial boys and girls, like all schoolchildren, ready to find a nickname, were fond of rhyming ‘Immigrant,’ ‘Jimmygrant,’ ‘Pommegrant’ and called it after the new chum children. The name stuck and became abbreviated ‘pommy’ later on.
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<1913 “POMMY Arrives in Australia or POMMY the Funny Little New Chum” [title of film directed by Raymond Langford and screened at Snowden Theatre, Melbourne, 13 September]>

<1915 “We call the Regulars—Indians and Australians—‘British’—but POMMIES are nondescript.”—‘Broken Years’ (1974) by B. Gammage, page 86>

<1916 “They're only a b—— lot of POMMIE [[cap.]] Jackeroos and just as hopeless” —‘Broken Years’ (1974) by B. Gammage, page 240>

<1916 “A POMMY [[cap.]] can't go wrong out there if he isn't too lazy to work.”—‘The Anzac Book,’ page 31>

<1920 “The ‘POMMY’ [[cap.]] parson made good, as a good man always will.”— by D. O’Reilly in ‘Australian Short Stories’ (1951) by Murdoch & Drake-Brockman, page 144>

<1923 “POMMY [[cap.]] is supposed to be short for pomegranate. Pomegranate, pronounced invariably pommygranate, is a near enough rhyme to immigrant, in a naturally rhyming country. Furthermore, immigrants are known in their first months, before their blood ‘thins down’, by their round and ruddy cheeks. So we are told. Ibid. 164 In this way Mr Somers had to take himself to task, for his POMMY [[cap.]] stupidity.”—‘Kangaroo’ by D. H. Lawrence, vii. page 162>

<1951 “Like most of these POMMY BASTARDS [[l.c.]], he had ‘funny ways’ but he wasn’t a bad old bloke at heart.”—‘Jimmy Brockett, page 214>

<1957 “I'm a POMMY [cap.]]. And going back to POMMY-LAND [[cap.]], after twenty-four years.”—‘Bystander’ by R. Stow, page 21>

<1974 “I'm Australian born and bred, not a POMMIE [[l.c.]] POMMIE [[l.c.]] immigrant... Now, grand-dad, 'e was a POMMIE [[l.c.]] BASTARD!—‘Call for Simon Shard’ by P. McCutchan, iv. page 36>

<1979 “British Leyland reacted angrily . . . to antipodean ‘POMMY-BASHING’ [[l.c.]] about the quality of buses.”—‘Guardian,’ 31 October, page 3/2>

<1990 “It was an embarrassing moment for all, and was not helped when, as Gooch walked up the pavilion steps, a spectator yelled” ‘You can’t be a POMMIE [cap.], Gooch, you’re white.’”—‘Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December>
(Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s and Random House Unabridged Dictionaries, American Heritage Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms)
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Ken – June 26, 2005
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by dalehileman » Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:28 pm

Ken, thank you. Never occurred to me I might find it in a dictionary
How do you find your quotes and examples without individually opening each hit
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Jun 26, 2005 7:17 pm

Dale, For a general discussion of how I do things see what Erik Kowal has dubbed 'essential tips'. In this 'pom bashing' example none of the quotes were gotten from Google hits. The OED quotes are just copy and paste from the online version. Newspaper and magazine and some book quotes mostly came from the electronic archives (as explained in Phase IV of my above ‘tips’), which have their own search engines, and I do have to open each one of these hits and copy and paste. The hard copy book quotes I have to transcribe.

Ken – June 26, 2005
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by dalehileman » Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:06 pm

Thanks. Very impressive library
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:14 pm

Dale you will also hear a pom called a to and from which is Aussie rhyming slang .. it is more often than not used as a simple term for a person from England these days and is rarely used as a derogatory term although like all words it is the way it is said rather than the term itself .. that is the term pommie is neutral, it is how it is used .. just like Aussie, Yank, Yarpie etc ..

WoZ of Aus 27/06/05

Ps .. thanks all I did enjoy my holiday in NZ with my Kiwi mates .. oh dear the Lions had their tail lifted .. *grin* ..
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by russcable » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:37 pm

Once you know the rhyming slang, it's hard to believe that seppo is "neutral". Would you mind being called a septic tank?
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by OlChuck » Sat Jul 23, 2005 5:41 am

I have been privileged to visit the Antipodes for business and pleasure a number of times over the past 20 years and lived there for six months in 1994-95. I heard the term "Pommy" and asked what it meant. The only explanation I ever got, from different people and different times, was that the original prisoners who had been transported wore shirts with "POHME" on the back. This stood for "Prisoner Of His Majesty's Empire." Later the spelling was adjusted to fit the sound, "Pommy". Nobody ever mentioned pomegranates. The choice of that fruit as the origin seems anachronistic since it is not commonly cultivated in England nor in the Sydney area of Australia.
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:17 pm

Charles, The claim that acronyms are the sources of words is one of the standard devices of the manufacturers of ‘urban legends’ (a.k.a. ‘folk etymologies,’ ‘word myths,’ ‘word origin bullshit stories’). In his recent book Word Myths (2004), Dave Wilton devotes a chapter to the subject and your explanation of the origin of POHME is among the ones discussed (and, in fact, is related to the title of the chapter ‘Posh, Phat Pommies’) along with other classic bogus explanations for the origins of, for example, ‘SHIT’ (Ship High In Transit), FUCK (Fornication Under the Consent of the King, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, . . .), NEWS (North, East, West, South), TIP (To Insure Prompt Service), GOLF (Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden), SPUD (Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet, WOG (Working on Government Service), POSH (Port Out Starboard Home – incidentally, the title of Michael Quinion’s new book on word myths), etc., etc.

Wilton notes that “There is no record of the phrase Prisoner of Mother England [[or Prisoner of His Majesty’s Empire]] ever being used to refer to British convicts. Further, the transportation of convicts to Australia ended in 1868, but the term ‘Pommy’ does not appear until 1915. The clipped form ‘pom’ appears a few years later in 1919.”
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Word Detective (under ‘tip’) warns:
<"You're absolutely right, of course, to be skeptical about the 'acronymic' origins proposed for many words. As I've noted before, acronyms were very rare in English before World War II, so any term that can be shown to have existed before about 1940 is very unlikely to have started life as an acronym.">
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And of acronymic word origins, Random House’s ‘Word Maven’ says:
<'If you automatically answer "it's not an acronym" in response to any such suggestion, you'll be ahead of the game.'>
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You said:
<“Nobody ever mentioned pomegranates. The choice of that fruit as the origin seems anachronistic since it is not commonly cultivated in England nor in the Sydney area of Australia.”>
However, in Australia there is a small tree of the genus Capparis known as the 'native pomegranate' and its fruit, also known as the ‘native pomegranate,’ has been enjoyed by Australians from time immemorial.
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SNOPES.COM, a well-known site for debunking urban legends also treats your explanation of POHME (Prisoner Of His Majesty's Empire) along with POME (Prisoner of Mother England) as follows:

Claim: "Pommy" (or "pom"), a slang term for a British person, comes from the acronym POHM, which was used to designate a "Prisoner of His Majesty."

Status: False.

Origins: "Pommy" (or "pom" or "pommie") is a primarily Australian (and largely 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 time, 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 criminals 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 "POHM" or "POME" eventually evolved into the slang term "pom" or "pommy."

This amusing anecdote is doubtful as anything more than a fanciful invention, 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 1915. Moreover, nobody has yet turned up corroborating evidence that "Prisoner of His Majesty" or "Prisoners of Mother England" were actually common designations for criminals transported to Australia. The best guess at this time is that "pommy" was based on the word "pomegranate" -- either because the redness of the fruit supposedly matched the typically florid British complexion, or because (like "Johnny Grant") it was used as rhyming slang for "immigrant."
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Ken G – July 23, 2005
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by OlChuck » Mon Jul 25, 2005 5:10 am

I reckon I'll crawdad out of this discussion!
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:25 am

Chuck, It happens in the best of families. I had to do some crawdading myself fairly recently when I somehow got sucked in to believing that CABAL had an acronymic origin – it doesn’t. And so, I am very sensitive to warning all innocent souls not to do what I have done (as in 'The House of the Rising Sun').
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Ken G – July 24, 2005
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by BILL_B » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:43 am

dryer than a bloody pommys towel hehehe....:)

to me - ( an aussie) seppo is negative but used a bit ... yank is nicer....
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Post by paulwiggins » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:33 am

Agreed Bill, but when used by the sort of person who calls a tall man Shorty in the classic laconic manner it is neutral.
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:48 am

.. and Paul & Bill that is the hardest thing for those who are listening to understand .. they hear the words but do not have the cultural background to interpret them .. but who cares we know what we mean .. *grin* .. don't we ??

WoZ of Aus 26/04/06
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pombashing (usu pom bashing)

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:34 am

Will the place ever be the same now that we have three Strines? All we need now are two Sheilas and a Joey!
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

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