When a 7-year-old child is new to Winnie the Pooh that child often interprets it to be poo. I'd like to be able to explain the history of that word.

When I look it up I find

an exclamation of disdain, contempt, or disgust

a childish word for faeces

Which does not seem to match the story, so it makes me think there would have been an alternative definition.

  • 2
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 23:18
  • Hello, user 1605665, and thanks for visiting. Your question seems quite interesting, and with a little more research could be a really great one. Do you mind if we edit to make it more on-topic? Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 23:31
  • I will note that when I was a kid the expression "Oh, pooh!" was common, with a meaning I interpreted as "Don't be ridiculous!" It was used without caution around children, and there never was any hint of a bathroom association.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 0:27
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    Your question is answered here on the theguardian
    – Ubi.B
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 2:25
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    The Guardian link, as one of the contributors says, explains more about 'Winnie' than 'Pooh'. However, pooh! was an expression of disdain long before poo entered the general vocabulary (cf Pooh-Bah, the proud official in The Mikado). Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 8:10

1 Answer 1



This is an excerpt from the above article on Wikipedia. Christopher Robin Milne is A. A. Milne's son, better known in the books as Christopher Robin...

Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear he often saw at London Zoo, and "Pooh", a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en route to England during the First World War.[5] He named the bear "Winnie" after his adopted hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "Winnie" was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as The Fort Garry Horse regimental mascot. Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much-loved attraction there. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.

In the first chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne offers this explanation of why Winnie-the-Pooh is often called simply "Pooh":

But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think – but I am not sure – that that is why he is always called Pooh.

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    Of course, this doesn't explain why the Swan was called Pooh ...
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 13:16

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