Martin Milner wrote:
You're right about 'pom' being an Australian terms ofr recent arrivals from England. You're also right about it being a very mild slang term with no serious derogatory overtones.
Pom seems to be derived by rhyming slang from immigrant via pomegranite. Not exactly cuttingly insulting is it?
Or possibly Prisoner of (His/Her) Majesty.
It's only insulting to me if it's intended to be.
I've never heard that suggestion. It looked quite plausible for a minute or two until I reflected on who would have used it originally? In convict days, almost everybody arrived from Britain.
Here is a possibility though. Perhaps the first few generations of Australian-born free men and women referred to new arrivals this way. The problem here is that, after a couple of decades, quite a few new arrivals would not have been convicts. Still, the meaning could easily have morphed into it's current shape over the last two centuries.
It's not a term I'd use often, if at all, but it's not a term I'd avoid because of insulting overtones. I might use it in 'quotes' when mocking xenophobic Australians.