[fahyuh r-muh n]

noun, plural fire·men.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for fireman

firefighter, stoker, trainman, engineman, ladderman

Examples from the Web for fireman

Contemporary Examples of fireman

Historical Examples of fireman

  • No, a fireman's not so oily and is more cindery—then we'll know one by his cap.

  • 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

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

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe

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

    Cab and Caboose

    Kirk Munroe

British Dictionary definitions for fireman


noun plural -men

a man who fights fires, usually a public employee or trained volunteerGender-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 precautionsUS 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

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