The Origin of “Straw Boss”
Posted: 03 February 2008 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Been wondering where this came from.  Some say it was meant as someone who supervises very little (not much work in supervising piles a straw), yet this seems unlikely to me, as I’ve heard this used as a synonym for Foreman, of just “boss”.  Soooooo..... where did it come from?

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Posted: 03 February 2008 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A straw boss may be the top man on site at the moment, but his authority always derives from the real boss.

The idea about supervising straw is pretty close to correct.  See this old discussion.

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Posted: 03 February 2008 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The quote: “...the second-man watched after the straw coming out and hence had little to do.” supports that this isn’t really a “boss” position.  Hmmm.  I think that’s interesting, but my real quandry is the origin of the phrase.  I guess I’ll go with old-time threshers unless something new would turn up.  Thank you very much for the info and the link!!!  :-)

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Posted: 04 February 2008 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How about “straw man” in general—a fake or front for something else, like a scarecrow, clothing stuffed with hay looking like a man’s figure from a distance but not reallly a person… Ah, I see that’s covered in the link above… ("hobo usage”? that’s amusing! Is there an authority on hobo usage?)

[ Edited: 04 February 2008 06:22 PM by ArtLvr ]
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Posted: 04 February 2008 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And if you’re interested in “straw man” in the sense of a weak argument raised for the purpose of refuting it, see here.

For pretty much any topic you can name, there are people who study it.  More specifically, for just about any cultural group you could name, somebody has studied their customs and language.  Why should hobos be an exception?

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