Low Man on the Totem Pole

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Lowest ranked person, the person who is given least importance in a group, gang, or organization

Etymology:

  • Many years ago, it was customary among Native Americans to carve, images and symbols in long wood sticks or shafts. The symbols depicting human figures and faces were called totems and the tall pole was being called totem pole. We know “lowest” means very low or least such as “lowest pay”, “lowest score”, but perhaps the lowest face or figure on the totem pole was least important. The person who made this idiom might have thought that way, but we only know the phrase really caught on.
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Nobody gives Rex any attention because he is dumb and low man in totem pole in the group.

Submitted on February 25, 2019

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Nearby phrases

Some more phrases from our dictionary similar to Low Man on the Totem Pole

How to pronounce this phrase?

  1. Alex
    Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Veena
    Indian

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"Low Man on the Totem Pole." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 25 Feb. 2020. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/low-man-on-the-totem-pole_44843>.

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