One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The policy of paying wages and giving benefits on a generous or extravagant scale, as practised by the Board of Guardians of Poplar in the 1920s; any similar policy which increases the charges on ratepayers.
1920s; earliest use found in The Glasgow Herald. From Poplar, the name of a district, formerly a borough, in the East End of London + -ism.
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