Posted by ESC on February 12, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Chinaman's Chance posted by Bruce Kahl on February 12, 2003
: : : Hello, I was just hoping some one might know the origin and meaning of the phrase "China-man's chance". Thanks in advance for any assistance.
: : CHINAMAN'S CHANCE - ".an extremely slim chance or no chance." The first citation is for 1911. An entry before this one is "play (someone) for a Chinaman - to treat as a fool." The earliest citation for that phrase is 1873. From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.
: : Do I have to say that these phrases are "now usu. considered offensive"?
please keep saying it.
: Eventually and hopefully racist and stereotypical phrases will fade away--not with a bang but.....
There is what I think is an interesting use of this word. Both "Chinaman" and "rabbi" mean a person's political sponsor or mentor. I don't know how that meaning came to be. I first read the "chinaman" usage in a mystery about politics in Chicago.