Tok Pisin: bik + man.

Bikman was omitted from Mihalic’s dictionary; instead, bik was noted ‘as a prefix in compound words to indicate something great, important, chief, large’.

(No Mihalic entry)

Term of address forms

  1. ‘mate’, ‘young feller’: a term of address that men who are equals can use, or you can use with children
    yes bikman, yu kam a? mate! so you’ve come eh?
    bikman, olsem wanem? hey there young feller, how’s it going? (addressed to a young boy)

Noun forms

  1. Kind of person: a leader, a VIP bikpela man
    ol bikman bilong ples the village leaders
    gut moning ol bikman! good morning all you important people!
    ol bikman bilong sios the church hierarchy
    ol bikman bilong kampani the company executives

  1. Kind of person: 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

Revising the Mihalic Project, 26 Jan 2005 [Home]