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.
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