[ROVERNET - UK] Saloon / Sedan / Hardtop ???

Peter Huttemeier peterhut at melbpc.org.au
Sat Feb 18 12:44:10 GMT 2006

On Fri, 17 Feb 2006 08:30:25 -0600, you wrote:

>I heard "POM" on Monty Python and had to know the derivation.
>I understand it to be a lighthearted Australian rib at the Brits...
>"Prisoner Of Mother England"

Ok, this is actually quite interesting. OT I know, but if you bear
with me.........

The first written evidence of the word, Pom or Pommy seems to be from
1920, H.J. Rumsey's The Pommies, and then again in 1923, D.H.
Lawrence's Kangaroo. Both these books give us the most popularly
accepted etymology of this word. While POME could mean Prisoner of
Mother England, or POM Permit Of Migration, or even Port Of Melbourne
where many migrant ships docked, or a possible derivation from the
common naval slang term for Portsmouth, Pompey, none of these are
accepted as correct. As Lawrence writes: "Pommy 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". Further, it is  suggested that the word began
life on the wharves in Melbourne as a form of rhyming slang. An
immigrant was at first called a Jimmy Grant (was there perhaps a
famous real person by that name around at the time?), but over time
this shifted to Pommy Grant, perhaps as a reference to pomegranate,
because the new chums did burn in the sun. Later pommy became a word
on its own and was frequently abbreviated still further. The
pomegranate theory in our language was also around as early as 1915/6.
The practise of eating pomegranates was as a source of Vitamin C, to
guard against scurvy on long sea voyages. Likewise, the English were
called Limeys in the US because they ate limes.

Hope this helps.


Peter H

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