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[fahyuh r-muh n] /ˈfaɪər mən/
noun, plural firemen.
a person employed to extinguish or prevent fires; firefighter.
a person employed to tend fires; stoker.
  1. a person employed to fire and lubricate a steam locomotive.
  2. a person employed to assist the engineer of a diesel or electric locomotive.
U.S. Navy. an enlisted person assigned to the care and operation of a ship's machinery.
British Mining. fire boss.
Baseball. relief pitcher.
Origin of fireman
1620-30 for sense “gunner”; fire + -man
Usage note
See -man. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fireman
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No, a fireman's not so oily and is more cindery—then we'll know one by his cap.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • And between whiles I had to look after the savage who was fireman.

    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • "Give me your name and address," he said, faintly, to the fireman.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton

    Laura Jean Libbey
  • As for the fireman he had flung himself flat on the floor of the cab.

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe
  • So he dismissed the affair, and devoted his whole attention to learning to be a fireman.

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe
British Dictionary definitions for fireman


noun (pl) -men
a man who fights fires, usually a public employee or trained volunteer Gender-neutral form firefighter
  1. (on steam locomotives) the man who stokes the fire and controls the injectors feeding water to the boiler
  2. (on diesel and electric locomotives) the driver's assistant
a man who tends furnaces; stoker
Also called deputy. a mine official responsible for safety precautions US equivalent fire boss
(US, navy) a junior rating who works on marine engineering equipment
(informal) any employee who is dispatched to deal with trouble at short notice
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
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Word Origin and History for fireman

late 14c., "tender of a fire," from fire (n.) + man (n.). As "person hired to put out (rather than tend) fires" it is attested from 1714.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fireman



A relief pitcher, esp an effective one: a four-run blast against fireman Joe in the eighth inning (1940s+ Baseball)

Related Terms

visiting fireman

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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