Question #25820. Asked by Waltzing Matilda.
Last updated May 15 2021.
The term Pommy for a British person is commonly used in Australian English and New Zealand English, and is often shortened to Pom. The origin of this term is uncertain. A number of fake etymologies have sprung up, mostly along the lines that POM is an acronym for "Prisoner of Mother England" or somesuch, referring to the fact that the earliest Australian settlers were convicts, sentenced to transportation. None of these explanations bears up under scrutiny, and the use of acronyms is largely a late twentieth century phenomenon. A more likely etymology is that it is a contraction of "pomegranates", a red skinned fruit, which bears a more than passing resemblance to the typical pale complexioned Englishman's skin after his first few days living under the hot Australian sun. The use of the word 'Pom' may be considered mildly derogatory - some may use it to cause offence, but it is also used in other situations as a friendly derogatory term among people who know each other well, if one of them is English and the other Australian.