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Pooh Bah

[poo bah] /ˈpu ˌbɑ/
noun, (often lowercase)
a person who holds several positions, especially ones that give him or her bureaucratic importance.
a leader, authority, or other important person:
one of the pooh bahs of the record industry.
a pompous, self-important person.
Also, Pooh-Bah, poobah.
Origin of Pooh Bah
First recorded in 1880-85; after a character in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, who holds all of the high offices of state simultaneously and uses them for personal gain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for pooh-bah


a pompous self-important official holding several offices at once and fulfilling none of them
Word Origin
C19: after the character, the Lord-High-Everything-Else, in The Mikado (1885), a light opera by Gilbert and Sullivan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pooh-bah

"leader who maintains excessive bureaucratic control," 1888, from Pooh-Bah, the name of the "Lord High Everything Else" character in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" (1885).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pooh-bah in Culture

Pooh-Bah definition

A self-important person of high position and great influence. Pooh-Bah is a character in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta The Mikado; his title is Lord-High-Everything-Else.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for pooh-bah



An important person; a self-important person; big shot, honcho, vip: where presidents and pooh-bahs commune

[1888+; fr the character in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado who holds many high offices, the name probably coined fr two exclamations of contempt and derision]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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