- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pooh-bah
“Pooh-Bah will do a better job than I could,” Fay assured him.
But Pooh-Bah declares "I must set bounds to my insatiable ambition."The Secrets of a Savoyard
Henry A. Lytton
A corporation is not a commercial Pooh-Bah, divided into unrelated sections.The Promise Of American Life
Herbert David Croly
Pooh-Bah, it seems that the festivities in connection with my approaching marriage must last a week.The Open Secret of Ireland
T. M. Kettle
Pooh-Bah finished page two and began to race through page three.
- a pompous self-important official holding several offices at once and fulfilling none of them
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
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
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.