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Webster 1913 Edition


Fireman

Fire′man

,
Noun.
;
pl.
Firemen
(-men)
.
1.
A man whose business is to extinguish fires in towns; a member of a fire company.
2.
A man who tends the fires, as of a steam engine; a stocker.

Webster 1828 Edition


Fireman

FI'REMAN

, n.
1.
A man whose business is to extinguish fires in towns.
2.
A man of violent passions. [Not used.]

Definition 2021


fireman

fireman

English

Noun

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,
      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

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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