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See also: Deadman and dead man



From dead +‎ man. In the sense referring to a safety switch, the notion of an operator who is dead is the figurative archetype representing any incapacitation, absence, or inattention. See also Dead Hand in that regard.


deadman (plural deadmen)

  1. (obsolete) A corpse
    There is no deadman to be found at Deadman's Curve.
  2. (construction) A long object, often a timber or log, buried to serve as an anchor for a wall or for stays.
    The building code requires deadmen for retaining walls.
  3. (rail transport, manufacturing, agriculture, safety equipment) A cutout device that operates in the event that an operator releases the control handles, leaves the operator's seat, or otherwise seems to be no longer present and alert.
    • 1962 April, “Beyond the Channel: Western Germany: The Henschel 4,000 h.p. V320 diesel”, in Modern Railways, page 274:
      [...] a Brown-Boveri deadman's control; [...].

Derived terms[edit]