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Visiting firemen

Posted by Shirls on June 19, 2003

In Reply to: Visiting firemen posted by masakim on June 13, 2003

Many thanks for your research.

: : : 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).

: fireman The man who tends the branding fires and keeps the irons hot.
: FIREMEN See grease burner.
: grease burner A logger's name for a fireman or for a cook.
: From _Western Words: A Dictionary of the American West_ by Ramon F. Adams
: ----------
: FIRE MAN Among many Indian people, the person who tends the fire that heats the rocks outside a SWEAT LODGE.
: SWEAT LODGE Among Western Indians, a low hut for a ritual of purification and to cure illness. ...
: From _The Dictionary of the American West_ by Win Belvins
: ----------
: Amongst the Caddoes, and some other tribes of Indians, one man of the hunting party is the fire-man, who is also the "Medicine-man," priest or conjurer. It is his business to provide fire for the party. He carries the "fire tools," the steel, flint and spunk. (_The American Pioneer_, 1843)