low man on the totem pole

low man on the totem pole

Fig. the least important or lowest-ranking person of a group. I was the last to find out because I'm low man on the totem pole. I can't be of any help. I'm low man on the totem pole.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem

low man on the totem pole

Low in rank, least important person, as in I just joined the board so I'm low man on the totem pole. This slangy expression is thought to have been invented by the American comedian Fred Allen about 1940 and caught on despite its lack of application to a genuine totem pole.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem
References in periodicals archive ?
Smith was essentially a gofer on that project, the low man on the totem pole, performing odds and ends and making himself available to the director of photography whenever he could.
He is just the low man on the totem pole who takes orders and pulls the trigger, and he's never been allowed any dignity or expression for his heart.
I used to joke when I was a low man on the totem pole that someday I would run this place,'' he said.