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Grand Poobah

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 cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  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 June 14, 2009
  3. ^ "Loyal Order of Water Buffalo", Grand Lodge Freemasonry site, April 8, 2004, accessed September 14, 2009
  4. ^ Holmes, Linda. "RIP Tom Bosley, One Of TV's Great Dads", National Public Radio, October 19, 2010, accessed March 6, 2018. See, e.g. episode #150, "Burlesque", aired November 6, 1979
  5. ^ Kellman, Andy. Grand Puba, Allmusic, accessed June 20, 2016
  6. ^ Borschel-Dan, Amanda. "Meet the Jewish grand poobah of the First Church of Cannabis", Times of Israel, June 9, 2015


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