fireman

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English[edit]

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 Fireman on Wikipedia

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Etymology[edit]

fire +‎ -man

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fireman ‎(plural firemen)

  1. (firefighting) Someone (implied male) who is skilled in the work of fighting fire.
  2. (rail transport) A man who keeps the fire going underneath a steam boiler (originally, shoveling coal by hand), particularly on a railroad locomotive.
    • ca. 1913 The wreck of Old 97 [ballad, Blue Ridge Mountains], verse 3:
      He looked around his cab at his black greasy fireman, saying 'shovel on a little more coal, and when we cross that White Oak Mountain, you can watch Old 97 roll'.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, Chapter IX, p. 140, [1]
      No grass grew under a train when the engineer let Fireman McLash take the throttle.
  3. (rail transport) By extension of the above, an assistant on any locomotive, whether steam-powered or not.
  4. (baseball) A relief pitcher.

Usage notes[edit]

Historically meant only a man, now used to refer to female firefighters as well. In modern usage, the gender-inclusive term firefighter is generally preferred.

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