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Jolly Posh

Hugh Grant, David Cameron, Ralph Fiennes and the Queen are all very posh. But what exactly does it mean to be posh?

The most important thing about being posh is to have a posh accent. This often involves speaking with a slow drawl, and making your vowels as long as possible (see our Accent Alert article for more information on this). In class-divided Britain, people can immediately tell how posh you are from your accent. In fact, the writer George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.”

Posh people have also been to the “right” school. This means one of England’s top public schools. In fact, the school you went to is very important. Top of the list of acceptable schools for posh people are Eton, Rugby, Harrow and Marlborough. Some of the other public schools are OK, but may be referred to as “MPSIA” (minor public school, I’m afraid).

Being posh is also about wearing the right clothes. The Barbour jacket (a waxed, green hunting jacket) is one of the key items. Another is Wellington boots (or “wellies” as they are more commonly known), which will give the posh person a country look. Tweed is also fashionable.

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About Learn Hot English

Great news! The latest issue of Hot English (195) is out now! Learn over 1,000 useful words and expressions and improve your listening skills with Learn Hot English! This month: Learn 25 hairstyles in English. Plus, 10 useful words and expressions for talking about holiday nightmares, 24 useful travel expressions, idioms, phrasal verbs... plus: • Ecology – cycling cities. • Grammar – making requests. • Marketing – brand stretching. • Travel – Kensington, London. • Language – reading English. • Culture – post English people. • Education – the Bullingdon Club. • Politics – Cameron & Johnson. • TV – the A-Team. • Traditions – fox hunting. • Literature – Jeeves & Wooster. • Cuisine – avocado salad. • Accents – the posh accent. • Words – understatement. AND LOTS, LOTS MORE! By reading and listening to all this great content, you'll improve your English reading and listening skills and learn up to 1,000 useful words or expressions. Plus, you'll get a better job and pass English-language exams more easily. Guaranteed!