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low man on the totem pole

The person (not necessarily a man) with the least amount of experience, authority, and/or influence in a social or corporate hierarchy. It can be a little daunting going from being a senior in high school to low man on the totem pole again as a college freshman. I know I'll be low man on the totem pole with this internship, but it will at least give me a place to start in my career!
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem

high man on the totem pole

Fig. the person at the top of the hierarchy; the person in charge of an organization. I don't want to talk to a vice president. I demand to talk to the high man on the totem pole. Who's in charge around here? Who's high man on the totem pole?
See also: high, man, on, pole, totem

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 on the totem pole

least important He's the low man on the totem pole here. AIDS deaths are low on the totem pole compared with cancer and heart disease.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of totem pole (a wooden pole with images of people and animals cut or painted on it)
See also: low, on, pole, totem

the low man on the totem pole

someone who has the least important position in an organization He started as the low man on the totem pole and worked his way up to be manager.
See lay low, lie low
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 ?
The final totem pole, which stands 13 feet high, celebrates visual art and music.
Unlike other guidebooks, this book demonstrates that "the totem pole is not a category of Native art invented hundreds of years ago that maintained its original significance, but is instead, a type of art that has over the decades been transformed by the colonial encounter.
She said before the artists set to work: "How each artist will interpret the meaning of Metro Totems is up to them.
Not much information about the original pole has survived in regards to what was represented on this beautiful old carving; it is impossible to say exactly what characters are represented on a totem pole without knowing who it was made for and what crests and stories would be related to them.
The totem pole was a gift of the WCC's Canadian member churches and the country's First Nations.
Microorganisms are the microbial equivalent of totem.
Students will create a balanced, 12" (30 cm) totem that effectively demonstrates form and space in a uniquely personal way.
on vessels chartered from Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Federal Way, Wash.
Haisla photographer Arthur Renwick's exhibition of black-and-white photo diptychs, Totem Hysteria, paired totem poles from the Northwest Coast with various commercial representations of totems (primarily signs and sandwich boards advertising businesses such as Totem Audio Video, Totem Auto Body, and Totem Super Star Gold Bingo).
Schoolchildren got a taste of traditional native American culture when they built their own totem pole.
Although Totem received minimal attention, Gil Cardinale's moving film about the Haisla people's struggle to reclaim their sacred G'psgolox totem pole from the National Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm is a powerful and vital example of how Native peoples in this country are still systemically mistreated and misunderstood.
Muscio the Account Executive of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, but he is also the Regional NDTA President of the Northwest Region, and an active member of the North Pole Chapter in Anchorage, Alaska.
There's more to the Lummi totem pole than meets the eye.
The Field Museum decides to return a 26-foot totem pole to descendants of its original Native American owners in Cape Fox, Alaska.
It is said that 39 totems representing the Indian nations that were signatories of the Great Peace treaty encircle a single totem representing the governor of New France, Louis Hector de Calliere.