bikman

1. leader, chief (also lida, lidaman, lidameri)

  • ol bikman bilong ples the village leaders
  • ol bikman bilong sios the church hierarchy
  • ol bikman bilong kampani the company executives

2. specifically a Melanesian ‘big-man’ style of leader. A big-man is a traditional leader who has achieved his position, classically by virtue of political oratory and exchange of wealth in a system of customary exchange, and today by electoral success and its consequent patronage. He may well marry several wives, particular in the Papua New Guinea Highlands where this is (today) a important way of extending political connections.

  • Bikman em i man i gat nem na i makim maus bilong ol pipol.
    A big-man is a man with a reputation and who speaks for his people.
  • Ol bikman i wok long salim pik i go i kam.
    The big-men are exchanging pigs among themselves.

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