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give (someone) the chair

1. To execute someone by electrocution by means of an electric chair. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. Some states will still give a prisoner the chair if he or she so chooses.
2. In professional wrestling, to hit one's opponent with a metal folding chair, which is used as a prop during the performance. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. I was shocked to find my kindly old grandmother screaming, "Give him the chair!" during a pro wrestling match on TV.
See also: chair, give

a game of musical chairs

A situation in which people or things are moved, shuffled, or rearranged from one position to another. After the boss resigned, it was a regular game of musical chairs in the company to figure out who would take over for whom. It's been a game of musical chairs trying to create enough space in the living room for Alex's birthday party this weekend.
See also: chair, game, musical, of

grab a chair

 and grab a seat
Fig. to quickly sit down in a seat. Grab a chair and join the group!
See also: chair, grab

keep one's chair

 and keep one's seat
Fig. to stay seated; to remain in one's chair or place. That's all right. Keep your chair. I'll find my own way out. Please keep your seats until after the question-and-answer period.
See also: chair, keep

play first chair

1. to be the leader of a section of instruments in an orchestra or a band. (More literal than the following sense.) Sally learned to play the violin so well that she now plays first chair in the orchestra. I'm going to practice my flute so I can play first chair.
2. Fig. to act as a leader. I need to get this job done. Who plays first chair around here? You're not the boss! You don't play first chair.
See also: chair, first, play

Pull up a chair.

Please get a chair and sit down and join us. (Assumes that there is seating available. The speaker does not necessarily mean that the person spoken to actually has to move a chair.) Tom: Well, hello, Bob! Bob: Hi, Tom. Pull up a chair. The three men were sitting at a table for four. Bob came up and said hello. Bill said, "Pull up a chair." Bob sat in the fourth chair at the table.
See also: chair, pull, up

pull up a chair

to move a chair so you can sit with others in a group We're just talking about the picnic on Saturday - why don't you pull up a chair?
Usage notes: often used as an invitation, as in the example
See also: chair, pull, up

play musical chairs

to move people from one organization or job to another The teams play musical chairs at that position - all of the top punters have played for at least two teams.
Usage notes: also used in the form a game of musical chairs: Buckley was reassigned in a game of corporate musical chairs Thursday.
Etymology: based on the children's game in which there is one more player than there are chairs and the players walk in a circle around the chairs until music stops playing, at which time they hurry to the nearest empty chair
See also: chair, musical, play

keep you on the edge of your seat

also keep you on the edge of your chair
to make you very excited or nervous because of uncertainty It was one of those movies that was so suspenseful, it kept you on the edge of your seat right through to the end.
See also: edge, keep, of, seat

keep somebody on the edge of their seat

  (British, American & Australian) also keep somebody on the edge of their chair (American)
if a story keeps you on the edge of your seat, it is very exciting and you want to know what is going to happen next You must rent this video. It keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the end.
See also: edge, keep, of, seat

nearly fall off your chair

to be very surprised about something When my mother told me she was getting remarried I nearly fell off my chair.
See also: chair, fall, nearly, off

musical chairs, play

Move around from position to position, such as the jobs in an organization. For example, Bob took over for Tom, who took over for Mary, who got Bob's title-the boss loves to play musical chairs with the staff . This expression alludes to the children's game in which children walk around a number of seats while music plays, and there is one less chair than players. When the music stops the players must sit down, and the player who is left standing is eliminated. Then another chair is removed, and the game goes on until only one player is left sitting. [c. 1900]
See also: musical, play

the chair

n. the electric chair, as used in the execution of the death penalty. (Underworld.) You’ll fry in the chair for this, Lefty!
See also: chair