Grand Poobah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rutland Barrington, the original Pooh-Bah

Grand Poobah is a term derived from the name of the haughty character Pooh-Bah in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado (1885).[1] In this comic opera, Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including "First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-in-Chief, Lord High Admiral ... Archbishop ... Lord Mayor" and "Lord High Everything Else". The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or locally high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This character was based, in part, on James Planché's Baron Factotum, the "Great-Grand-Lord-High-Everything" from The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (1840). Williams (2010), p. 267
  2. ^ "Pooh-bah", Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, accessed 14 June 2009
  3. ^ "Loyal Order of Water Buffalo", Grand Lodge Freemasonry site, 8 April 2004, accessed 14 September 2009
  4. ^ Holmes, Linda. "RIP Tom Bosley, One Of TV's Great Dads", National Public Radio, 19 October 2010, accessed 6 March 2018. See, e.g. episode #150, "Burlesque", aired 6 November 1979
  5. ^ Kellman, Andy. Grand Puba, Allmusic, accessed 20 June 2016
  6. ^ Borschel-Dan, Amanda. "Meet the Jewish grand poobah of the First Church of Cannabis", Times of Israel, 9 June 2015


  • Williams, Carolyn (2010). Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-14804-6.