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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

low man on the totem pole

Last in line, lowest-ranking, least important. The humorist H. Allen Smith used this phrase as the title of a book (1941) after the radio comedian Fred Allen had used the term to describe him in an introduction to an earlier book. The position on an actual totem pole, by the way, has no such significance. Nevertheless the term caught on quickly enough to become a cliché.
See also: low, man, on, pole, totem
References in periodicals archive ?
Eco-Culture Totem Poles are a manageable and achievable art installation.
Coventry is the first city in Europe to use the new wayfinding totems which have been funded 50-50 by the European Regional Development Fund and Centro - which received PS15.
It is likely totem poles would not figure on your list.
Many of their totems, including contemporary ones, are topped by carved watchmen who stand guard.
Totem Pole is often used as a single category to describe all carved columns made by the Northwest Coast People, but there are several types of totem poles as well as interior and exterior house posts.
The totem shape was the 'corporate image' adopted by British Railways shortly after nationalisation in 1948, Tony said.
The totem pole, which ultimately will take up residence beneath a skylight opposite the entrance to Magi Bish's classroom at Old Mill Pond Elementary School in Palmer, will be given an American Indian blessing by Oliver "Black Feather" Suprenant of East Brookfield, one of the longtime spiritual advisers to the Bish family.
As I expected, the individual forms within the totems demonstrated artistry.
But some are trenchant commentaries on much larger issues, like Renwick's photo of the Totem Road street sign, which has a logging truck in the background.
A private buyer in Minnesota commissioned three 37-foot totems then called and ordered three more.
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.
Mysterious petroglyphs, soaring totems, and a solemn tribal house highlight a walking tour of Wrangell, ancestral home of the Tlingit Indians' Stikine River clan.
com/legends-tomorrow-spoilers-season-3-episode-10-synopsis-released-2646349) Season 3, episode 10 , the Legends found out that the six totems could be the keys to stopping Mallus (voiced by John Noble).
A total of 16 Wayfinding totems costing PS380,000 have been placed around the city centre and will be switched on from Tuesday.
First, she needed to obtain the administration's approval for the totems to be placed in front of the school.