1. an important person; also attrib.
|Springfield Globe-Republic (OH) 18 Apr. 6/2: Whom did we elect to that high-mighty and pooh-bah position?|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Aug. 11/2: J.G. Knight of the new Government Resident of the Northern Territory, is a regular Poo-bah, and is regarded as an improved Czar up that way. He has five different billets, and gets about £600 a year after twenty years’ service.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 24 June 4/6: The big-headed Poo Bah Brown, who was such a ghastly failure as Mayor of Perth.|
|Truth (Melbourne) 3 Jan. 5/2: This Pooh-bah business could not, of course, yield but the rottenest results.|
|Carrying On 5: Ayling has departed [...] and rumour says he is leading a sort of Pooh Bah existence at Brigade Headqurters.|
|Bulldog Drummond 152: When the young Pooh-ba comes of age, naturally his devoted parent will sport her glad rags.|
|Brisbane Courier 18 Aug. 6/8: In many places a policeman is a general Pooh-bah.|
|Pleasant Jim 11: Eight thousand you get from some damned Pooh-Bah who’ll make a speech to you and then forget you.|
|Pulps (1970) 4/2: He had been [...] stepping on the toes of the constituted medical poobahs.‘Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw’ in Goodstone|
|USA Confidential 127: B. Kaufman, of the Sellman Hotel, is the pooh-bah of the cafes and restaurants. [Ibid.] 132: He was and is the poobah.|
|Iron Orchard (1967) 17: Our local high Pooh-Bah is Mr. Scofield, the field superintendent.|
|Dict. of Invective (1991) 308: pooh-bah. A pompous person. The epithet converts an important person into a self-important one.|
|Guardian Rev. 27 Nov. 1: If you happen to wake up one morning to find yourself the big Pooh-bah for your district.|
|Destination: Morgue! (2004) 167: Sweaty Jimmy Swaggart and paralyzed pussy pooh-bah Larry Flynt.‘Little Sleazer & the Mail-Sex Mama’ in|
2. someone or something that serves multiple purposes.
|N.Y. Tribune 16 Oct. 11/1: I learned that this wagon was a ‘Pooh Bah’ among vehicles, serving by turns as patrol wagon, amubulance and hearse.|
the promotion of individuals on the basis of connections rather than ability.
|W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 19 May 1/1: Poo Bah-ism is rampant in the Civil Service of this state.|