A situation or activity marked by confusion or disorder.
A prank in which the people riding in a car get out and change seats when stopped at a traffic light.
A prank performed while stopped in a car at a red-light; each passenger (including the driver) shouts "Chinese fire drill", exits the vehicle, runs at least once around it, then re-enters, taking a different seat.
(derogatory) A silly, pointless exercise.
Origin of chinese-fire-drill
- 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)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- Perhaps from the WWI era, from the British practice of using Chinese as a slur; now used only as a festive exclamation.