totem

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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

  (American)
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 ?
Although it is claimed that totemic species are not animist persons (Descola 2013:291), this is clearly not so for Manambu.
It is a theme that runs throughout the region, nowhere more so than Damson Park where the newly-installed Bees will begin a season without the totemic Alex Davidson for the first time in eight years.
The totemic figures of Canada's Pacific-coast native cultures usually represent ancestors or supernatural beings.
Jazzwise magazine hailed the performer as "one of the totemic figures of British jazz" and the country's "first major jazz musician".
Jazzwise magazine hailed him as "one of the totemic figures of British jazz".
A string of senior MP colleagues have criticised his call for "savage" cuts and moves to means-test child tax credits and ditch the Lib Dems' totemic pledge to abolish tuition fees.
Totemic England striker Crouch has been targeted as the "impact" signing chairman Niall Quinn is eager to land as a demonstration of the Black Cats' enhanced financial muscle.
The guys eventually morphed into totemic shapes: not quite David Novros's abstract forms; more like crosses and strangely indeterminate symbols.
As the UK's most popular fruit, the banana has always been a totemic item for supermarkets, and the price cut is sure to play well with consumers (as well as Alistair Darling).
Totemic Flute Chants: Johnny Whitehorse (AKA Robert Mirabal) Category: Native American Flute/ Contemporary Silverwave Records.
James said: "These works have been described as being both totemic and playful.
But since returning to action following his illness he has yet to regain his regular place in the Toulouse line-up and his previously totemic presence for Wales is now no longer taken for granted.
We believe that an informed consideration of contact and historic archaeology, and claimant connections to sites with archaeological components, can provide a valuable grounding in country, whereby domestic and totemic landscapes can both be accommodated.
Not so, Bent and like his totemic partner, he produced a second compelling cameo of the week.
Newspaper ads for Broadway musicals tend to avoid dance images altogether in favor of the kind of brand promotion perfected by the producer Cameron Mackintosh, who gave us the big-eyed waif of Les Miserables and the totemic face mask of Phantom.