When mentioning posh English, everybody thinks about the way royal people talk. Is it a specific dialect/accent or the style of talking of posh people?

For example, one characteristic of posh English is talking slow.

Are the characteristics of posh English, posh Scottish, posh American, and posh Australian the same?

  • Definitions required: posh, everyone and even royal (the Queen's way of speaking has changed considerably over the years). Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 23:31
  • In UK, one of the main marker of "posh" English is the emphasis on tonic stress.
    – Graffito
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 23:36
  • @TimLymington everything is subject to change. My question is how much today's language of posh people in different English speaking countries have elements in common.
    – Googlebot
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


You will almost never hear the word 'posh' used within the U.S., except in reference to Victoria Beckham in a bar trivia question about her nickname in the Spice Girls. But I will assume you're referring to a more distinctive style and dialect by people of the upper-class.

First, there is a language difference. Speaking in more formal and proper English would evoke the image of an upper-class and learned person. This includes not only proper grammar, but minimizing slang and informal words. For example, compare: "I ain't gunna do nuttin." vs "I will do nothing."

Second, there is a difference in the accent and manner of speaking. Specifically, I think what you're most looking for is Received Pronunciation (sample), which is/was the standard British English pronunciation among on the educated elite. This is also the pronunciation most similar to the aristocratic Boston accent.

  • 1
    "You will almost never hear the word 'posh' used within the U.S." - One's milieu plays a huge part in what words and expressions one does and does not hear, or how frequently. Indulging in frivolous judgment and posing as the entire country's spokesman is indicative of a certain type of milieu as well. Give me a break, dude. There are over 300 million of us. You should get out more.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 0:04
  • Pointing out that there are niche groups that may use 'posh' in a legitimate non-sarcastic and non-ironic manner isn't indicative for the U.S. as a whole. I stand by my comment. A person will almost never hear the word 'posh' used within the U.S. to refer to individuals in the upper-class of society. Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 1:52
  • "Give me a break, dude. There are over 300 million of us. You should get out more." --> Or maybe you need to expand your social group beyond people who actually use the world "posh". Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 1:55
  • Where in your answer do you say that "it's hardly ever used except ironically"? On my part, I don't think it's used in any other manner anywhere in the world. But - is that what you actually say in your answer? Hell no. "Almost never hear the word" says CJJ and leaves it at that. Next time be a sport and try to express your actual view, not its worthless second cousin.
    – Ricky
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 2:09
  • Google trends for 'posh'. It is a word used substantially more often in the U.K. Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:45

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