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Chinaman's Chance

Posted by Bruce Kahl on February 12, 2003

In Reply to: Chinaman's Chance posted by ESC 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"?

Nope, please keep saying it.
Eventually and hopefully racist and stereotypical phrases will fade away--not with a bang but.....