Chinese-fire-drill meaning

A situation or activity marked by confusion or disorder.
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A prank in which the people riding in a car get out and change seats when stopped at a traffic light.
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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.
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(derogatory) A silly, pointless exercise.
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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.

    From Wiktionary