Poster child

Posted by Masakimm on April 18, 2002

In Reply to: Poster child posted by R. Berg on April 18, 2002

: : What's the origin of the phrase "so is a poster child for sth"?

: A poster child was originally a child with some illness or disability or other condition, such as being orphaned in a poor country, whose photo appeared on a poster soliciting donations to a charity that helped children with the condition. Later the term was taken up for humorous uses, like "That guy I went out with last night? He could be the poster boy for a remedial social-skills clinic." I don't know the other part, sth. sth or STH must stand for something that it's better not to have.

poster boy (or girl or child) n phr by 1980s Someone given prominence in a certain cause: "The Bible-thumpers portray Col. North as the poster boy for the religious right"--Nation/ "Mary Matalin, for all her new visibility as a GOP poster girl, as actually a moderate"--Vanity/ "Marky Mark became the poster child of the baby teens, smiling with sweet innocence in his Calvin Klein underwear from billboards around the country"--New York Times [fr the appealing children appearing on posters in the 1930s and following, soliciting money for various desease-fighting organizations]
From Dictionary of American Slang by Robert L. Chapman.