spear carrier

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

spear carrier (plural spear carriers)

  1. A person in a play or movie with a minimal part; an extra.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) One who serves in a subordinate or menial role.
    • 2009 Jan. 8, Linda Greenhouse, "Opinion: The Chief Justice on the Spot," New York Times (retrieved 19 March 2014):
      A case sitting quietly in the Supreme Court’s in-basket promises to tell us more than almost any other about John G. Roberts Jr. and his evolution from spear carrier in the Reagan revolution to chief justice of the United States.
    • 2010 Feb. 26, Adrian Hamilton, "Can we halt our slide to the margins?," The Independent (UK) (retrieved 19 March 2014):
      Britain is now widely dismissed—more often in sorrow than in anger—as just an American spear-carrier without any real force of its own.
  3. (idiomatic) One who plays a leading or substantial role as a supporter, proponent, etc. representing a group, cause, or point of view.
    • 2006 July 23, James Carney, "The Rise and Fall of Ralph Reed," Time (retrieved 19 March 2014):
      Reed was the preternaturally boyish spear carrier for the religious right, the brash Evangelical who transformed the Christian Coalition into a populist power center.

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