Chinese fire drill


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Chinese fire drill

n. Offensive
1. A situation or activity marked by confusion or disorder.
2. A prank in which the people riding in a car get out and change seats when stopped at a traffic light.

[Probably from earlier military slang Chinese, clumsy, inept (a derogatory epithet based on racist notions of Chinese inferiority), later reinforced by such derogatory expressions as Chinese ace, inept pilot (from a joke in which the phrase one wing low was interpreted as a Chinese name ).]
References in periodicals archive ?
I have to go through the ravages of the students and then go through a two-week Chinese fire drill to clean them up," he laughed.
engaged in some sort of corporate Chinese fire drill.
Making matters worse, the Chinese fire drill that coach Yuanan Ma's team pulled off - textbook defense interchanged with excellent off-ball support - began fraying away at the edges of Team USA's nerves.