totem

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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

low on the totem pole

Having the least amount of experience, authority, and/or influence in a social or corporate hierarchy. The president has made it clear that the environment is low on the totem pole for his administration. 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, 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 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

the low man on the totem pole

AMERICAN, INFORMAL
If you describe someone as the low man on the totem pole, you mean that they are the least important person in an organization or a group. He is a quality-control coach, the low man on the totem pole of the staff. Note: You can also just say that a person or their position is low on the totem pole. At other studios, those writers who were low on the totem pole were treated rudely. Note: If someone is important in a group or organization, you can say that they or their position is high on the totem pole. Kassam would only say that his job was `high on the totem pole' at the hospital where the disease was found. Note: A `totem pole' is a tall wooden pole with symbols on it, that is a traditional object for Native Americans.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem
References in periodicals archive ?
The importance of this is not restricted to patrilineal descent, because, ultimately, all relationships between people, and between people and their nonhuman totemic correlates, are grounded in country.
In fact, the brutality visited upon the Russians by the Tlingits was the direct result of breaking totemic law.
Totemism is nevertheless the primitive formulation of the law of the father; the members of the primal hoard will transfer upon the totemic animal the ambivalent feelings they originally experienced for their leader: love, but also fear of castration stemming from sexual competition.
On the September night that Denmark shocked the European Union establishment to the core by voting against membership in the euro-zone--but far more pertinently against the entire process of European political integration--a commentator from German radio was interviewed, a grainy photograph of Berlin's totemic Brandenburg Gate behind him.
And it is only getting harder as the term "special interest" gathers the kind of totemic, repulsive force that "Mason" once held in American politics.
The apposite totemic animal here is neither the hare nor the tortoise, but rather the fox.
More important, from the perspective of effective ritual, there were no memorable gaffes or one-liners, so the press and public were denied the totemic moment that gives these dustups their greatest symbolic power: the viewers' belief that they have had a live glimpse into the heart and mind of each candidate and that the person of stronger presidential timber has been revealed, unprotected by his legions of handlers.
In his eventual massive national activation of the black voting rights won by King in Selma, in his perpetuation of King's vision in the nation's life, in his ascent to become an almost totemic figure for America's black community, he would indeed prove to be probably King's most notable legatee.
She follows key elements of the well-known fable that Freud used to understand the mythic foundations of the social order: a tale of primordial conflict between a band of brothers and their father that resulted in the murder of the father and the freeing of women from his control, the construction of a totemic father substitute and the creation of the incest taboo.
A totem animal must not be killed and eaten as food, except on special occasions when totemic rites are being performed.
O'Brien was walloped in the very first collision of the game as Kieran Read went through him to collect the kick-off but from that moment, the 27-year-old was a totemic figure for his team.
Kerry have to plough on today against Roscommon without totemic figures like James O'Donoghue, Colm Cooper, Marc O Se and Kieran Donaghy.
We all have experiential Edensmoments or events that create feelings that become totemic, and which we often find ourselves chasing to manifest again and again.
The band played a well-paced set, only slightly marred by slightly muddy sound, and the wildly enthusiastic dancing from a hirsute bearded gent in front of the stage did make me wonder whether they might have acquired their own totemic Bez like figure, as he was soon incongruously leading what looked like a mosh-pit as they struck out onto the more full-on psychedelic songs from the CYRK album.
For Levi-Strauss, however, any such substantive identification of social entities with natural species would be a secondary formation on the more essential function of totemic associations as classificatory schemes by means of which differences between species serve to represent and correlate differences between groups.