One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A sawyer holding the upper handle of a pit saw and standing in the upper position above the saw pit.
- ‘The top-sawyer, standing on a tall sawhorse here, was required to pull the saw up and direct it carefully.’
- ‘Every street was a sawpit, and there were no top-sawyers; every passenger was an under-sawyer, with the sawdust blinding him and choking him.’
- 1.1archaic A distinguished person.
- ‘See-saw is the fashion of England always; and the Whigs will soon be the top-sawyers.’
- ‘They say that each age should take it turn and turn about, week by week, one week the old to be top-sawyers, and the other the young, drawing the line at thirty-five years of age; but they insist that the young should be allowed to inflict corporal chastisement on the old, without which the old would be quite incorrigible.’
- ‘There are some grinders who have superior opera instruments, and who are reg'ler top-sawyers of the purfession.’
- ‘These are top-sawyers with more than 10 years work experience in the field of metrology.’
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