Chinaman's chance


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Chinaman's chance

Little or no chance at all; a completely hopeless prospect. This derogatory phrase originated in the 1800s and referred to Chinese immigrants who worked for extremely low wages, faced racism and higher taxation, and were prohibited from testifying in court for violence committed against them. Primarily heard in US, South Africa.
See also: chance

Chinaman's chance

Also, ghost of a chance. An extremely slim chance, a hopeless undertaking. Both versions are most often put negatively, as in He hasn't a Chinaman's chance of finishing the work in time, or They haven't a ghost of a chance to get as far as the playoffs. The first term, now considered offensive, dates from the late 1800s when many Chinese immigrants came to work in California and were resented because they worked for lower wages. Its precise allusion is unclear. The variant, which relies on the meaning of ghost as an insubstantial shadow, dates from the mid-1800s. Also see the synonyms fat chance; not an earthly chance.
See also: chance

Chinaman's chance, he hasn't a/not a

No chance whatever. The term dates from the latter half of the nineteenth century, when Chinese immigrants came to California to help build railroads. Their presence was sharply opposed because they would work for far less than white workers. “We are ruined by cheap labor,” wrote Bret Harte in his poem “Plain Language from Truthful James.” According to some authorities, the term applied to those Chinese who tried to supplement their earnings by working claims and streams abandoned by gold prospectors, a virtually hopeless undertaking. Others, poet John Ciardi among them, believe it derives from the way they were regarded as virtually subhuman and had no legal recourse if, for example, they were robbed, attacked, or otherwise abused. It largely replaced the older not a dog’s chance, at least in America, but is now considered offensive. Also see fat chance; snowball's chance.
See also: he, not

Chinaman's chance

Slim to no possibility. There have been several explanations about the origin of this odious phrase, all arising from Chinese immigrants working in the American West. One is that they were given the most dangerous jobs, such as setting and igniting explosives. Another is that judges and juries routinely convicted Chinese defendants on the flimsiest of evidence. A third is that Chinese miners were allowed to work gold claims only after others had taken the best ore. In any event, “Chinaman's chance” should be relegated to the slag heap.
See also: chance
References in periodicals archive ?
The film is Co-Produced by award winning veteran Producer/Actor Robert Amico whose producing credits include: "Dark Desire," "Broken Spirits," Chinaman's Chance," "Window Of Opportunity," "Proving Ground," "S2K," "Daddy Donor," "Frogtown," "Boiler Maker," and dozens more.
Jarencio is particularly wary of four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, whom he describes as the 'best player in the league,' and expects Kelly Nabong to step up once again and give his GlobalPort a Chinaman's chance against the Beermen.
"Frankly, they don't think they have a Chinaman's chance of ever escaping," he wrote of the heroes, "so they are going to have a 'Roman' holiday, and they do all the damage they can, blow up all the military equipment they can lay their hands on." Which is what they do.
Whether Mayor Duterte actually runs or not for president, or whether he has a Chinaman's chance of winning against exceptionally popular Sen.
The Chinese workers constructing the railroads were killed on the job with such frequency their plight gave rise to the phrase "Chinaman's chance," meaning no chance at all.
San Miguel dropped to 9-7 and out of a tie for second place with idle Rain or Shine, leaving the Beermen with a tough final two assignments in Air21 and Purefoods, with no less than a sweep required for them to even have a Chinaman's chance.
A racist expression of that era, "A Chinaman's Chance," reflects how treacherous the work was.
There's some old tasteless cliche, something to do with "A Chinaman's chance in hell," or something, but it would be incorrect -- politically incorrect, in fact -- to use it here.
A Chinaman's Chance: The Chinese on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier.
Pesce feature "Chinaman's Chance," a chopsocky actioner.
We do not see Mar Roxas having a Chinaman's chance. That's just too bad because he is a good man; but without charisma, he is an interesting read as yesterday's newspaper.
On the other hand, I voted for Gordon and my wife voted for Gibo, but what good was it if neither had a Chinaman's chance of winning?
And it is up to the SBP to cultivate talents from the grassroots and grow a team together with the aim of flying to tournaments armed with more than just a Chinaman's chance of winning gold medals.