from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A post carved and painted with a series of family or clan crests or with figures representing mythic beings and erected usually before a dwelling, as among certain Native American peoples of the northwest coast of North America.
- n. Slang A hierarchy: low on the totem pole.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Native American sculpture made by carving trees.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- A pole or pillar, carved and painted with a series of totemic symbols, set up before the house of certain Indian tribes of the northwest coast of North America, esp. Indians of the Koluschan stock.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A post erected in front of an Indian house, carved so as to represent totem-animals, ancestral figures, or a. series of figures that illustrate a clan legend. Totem-poles are used by the Indians of the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia. See totem.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a tribal emblem consisting of a pillar carved and painted with totemic figures; erected by Indian tribes of the northwest Pacific coast
Sorry, no etymologies found.
A wigwam of driftwood spars lashed to the central totem pole was encircled by a pattern of grey sticks laid out like basketwork and punctuated by such objects as the flip-flop sandals and trainers that seem perpetually to ride the waves, Coke cans, garish cork or plastic lobster-pot buoys and the armoured white carapaces of spider crabs that abound on this beach.