One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(106–48 BC), Roman general and statesman; Latin name Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus; known as Pompey the Great. He founded the First Triumvirate, but later quarrelled with Caesar, who defeated him at the battle of Pharsalus. He then fled to Egypt, where he was murdered.
A name for the English city of Portsmouth, or for Portsmouth Football Club.‘Pompey enjoyed decent spells of possession’‘there'll be dancing in the streets of Pompey if we go up’
Late 19th century: apparently from Pompey. Suggested explanations for the use include an association with the name of the French ship La Pompeé (captured by the British in 1793 and subsequently based at Portsmouth), or with an ancient column in Alexandria nicknamed Pompey's Pillar (reportedly scaled by sailors from Portsmouth), but no documentation has been found to support these theories.
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