deadman

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dead·man

 (dĕd′măn′)
n. pl. dead·men
1. A rigid plate, beam, or similar object embedded crosswise in a mass of soil or other material to act as an anchor, as for a retaining wall.
2. A prop used as a temporary support for a board or other object.

[dead + man (probably because a deadman is a heavy object that is buried).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

deadman

(ˈdɛdˌmæn)
n, pl -men
1. (Civil Engineering) civil engineering a heavy plate, wall, or block buried in the ground that acts as an anchor for a retaining wall, sheet pile, etc, by a tie connecting the two
2. (Mountaineering) mountaineering a metal plate with a wire loop attached for thrusting into firm snow to serve as a belay point, a smaller version being known as a deadboy
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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