one-man band

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one-man band

A company or organization where most or all of the work is handled by one person. Most small businesses start out as a one-man band with the owner doing everything himself until he can afford to hire help.
See also: band

a one-man band

COMMON If you describe a man or an organization as a one-man band, you mean that one man does every part of an activity himself, without help from anyone else. He seemed to be a one-man band, taking orders, and cooking and serving at table. I'm a one-man band, Mr Herold. At present I haven't even got a secretary. Note: A woman who is like this is sometimes described as a one-woman band. I am no better at being in two places at once than the next one-woman band. Note: A one-man band is a street entertainer who plays several different instruments at the same time.
See also: band

one-man band

A person able to perform many different tasks well. The literal term applies to a musician who can play many instruments, sometimes even simultaneously. In one of his shows the composer and musical humorist Peter Schickele blew a bassoon while at the same time playing the piano with one hand or elbow. The term dates from the 1800s. The Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-Eye had it on July 1, 1876: “The one-man band, comprising drums, cymbals, violin, and a squeaking pipe . . . had one thing to recommend it. You can kill the drummer and thus obliterate the whole band.” The term is also applied to multitalented individuals in other fields.
See also: band