Posted by ESC on June 13, 2003
In Reply to: Visiting firemen posted by Shirls on June 13, 2003
: Some directors of our parent company are coming next week and I mentioned them to colleagues as "visiting firemen". No-one appears to have heard of this phrase (which seems quite normal to me) and I see it is not in the archives here. I don't know where I picked it up - does anyone else recognize it?
VISITING FIREMAN - "A distinguished visitor from out-of-town. Here 'fireman' is not related to a firefighter but to a Native American dignitary responsible for lighting his tribe's fires." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Fact on File, New York, 1997).