Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating

totem pole

a pole or post carved and painted with totemic figures, erected by Indians of the northwest coast of North America, especially in front of their houses.
a hierarchical system:
the bureaucratic totem pole.
Origin of totem pole
1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for totem-pole
Historical Examples
  • I've got one decayed foreign title dangling to the totem-pole, and that's enough; that's got to satisfy the missus.

    Making Money Owen Johnson
  • A totem-pole donated to the exposition by Yannate, a very old Thlinkit, was made by his own hands in honor of his mother.

    Alaska Ella Higginson
  • It is the totem-pole, the Indian child will tell you with pride.

    Little Folks of North America Mary Hazelton Wade
  • The idea of a totem-pole is something like a door-plate or a visiting card.

British Dictionary definitions for totem-pole

totem pole

a pole carved or painted with totemic figures set up by certain North American Indians, esp those of the NW Pacific coast, within a village as a tribal symbol or, sometimes, in memory of a dead person
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
totem-pole in Culture

totem pole definition

Among some Native Americans, a pole on which totems are carved. The totem pole usually stands in front of a house or shelter.

Note: A totem pole is thought of figuratively as a symbol of a hierarchy: “Where does she stand on the totem pole?”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for totem

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for totem-pole