china

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(one's) (old) china

slang One's close friend. The term comes from rhyming slang in which "china" is short for "china plate," which rhymes with "mate." Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Bring your china to the show then—the more, the merrier. It's always great to spend time with my old china.
See also: china

a bull in a china shop

One who is aggressively reckless and clumsy in a situation that requires delicacy and care. My son can be a bit of a bull in a china shop, so I'm worried about taking him to the museum. Surrounding him with valuables does not seem like a wise idea! This is a complex problem, and if you attack it like a bull in a china shop, you will alienate a lot of people.
See also: bull, china, shop

all Lombard Street to a China orange

Very probable or likely. London's Lombard Street has long been associated with the banking industry, while a "China orange" is considered an ordinary, unimportant thing. We'll definitely be able to beat the worst team in the league—it's all Lombard Street to a China orange.
See also: all, china, orange, street

all the tea in China

A priceless amount or value; something of such great value that it cannot be quantified. China has historically been one of the world's largest tea producers. Just a glimpse of your smile is worth all the tea in China to me.
See also: all, china, tea

be like a bull in a china shop

To be aggressive and clumsy in a situation that requires delicacy and care. My son is always like a bull in a china shop, so I'm worried about taking him to the museum. Surrounding him with valuables does not seem like a wise idea! This is a complex problem, and if you attack it like a bull in a china shop, you will alienate a lot of people.
See also: bull, china, like, shop

china

slang A close friend. The term comes from rhyming slang in which "china" is short for "china plate," which rhymes with "mate." Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Bring your china to the show then—the more, the merrier. It's always great to spend time with my old china.

china plate

slang A close friend. The phrase comes from rhyming slang in which "china plate" rhymes with "mate." Primarily heard in UK, Australia. Bring your china plate to the show then—the more, the merrier. It's always great to spend time with my old china plate.
See also: china, plate

China syndrome

A scenario in which a nuclear reactor meltdown in North America would theoretically melt a hole straight through the Earth to China (which is impossible). In more realistic usage, it describes such a meltdown reaching groundwater and forcing subsequent radioactive gases into the atmosphere. The latter scenario was used as the basis of a 1979 film of the same name starring Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda. While many advocate nuclear power as clean and safe, the risk of catastrophes such as China syndrome make me very nervous about its use.
See also: china, syndrome

made in China

A phrase printed on objects (or on the labels attached to objects) that have been produced in factories in China. The phrase is sometimes used derisively to highlight a lack of quality. I thought this piece was handcrafted by European artisans, but look—it says "made in China" on the bottom! I took up pottery because I was sick of using flimsy plastic cups that had been made in China!
See also: china, made

Nixon goes to China

A metaphor used when a political figure known for a particular stance or approach takes actions that promote peace with or favor the values of their traditional enemy or opponent. A reference to former US President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972, which marked the beginning of improved diplomatic relations between the two countries. Prior to the visit, Nixon was renowned for his staunchly anti-communist position. Many view the healthcare-reform legislation as a "Nixon goes to China" moment for the notoriously anti-socialist governor.
See also: china, goes, Nixon

Nixon in China

A metaphor used when a political figure known for a particular stance or approach takes actions that promote peace with or favor the values of their traditional enemy or opponent. A reference to former US President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972, which marked the beginning of improved diplomatic relations between the two countries. Prior to the visit, Nixon was renowned for his staunchly anti-communist position. Many view the healthcare-reform legislation as a "Nixon in China" moment for the notoriously anti-socialist governor.
See also: china, Nixon

Nixon to China

A metaphor used when a political figure known for a particular stance or approach takes actions that promote peace with or favor the values of their traditional enemy or opponent. A reference to former US President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972, which marked the beginning of improved diplomatic relations between the two countries. Prior to the visit, Nixon was renowned for his staunchly anti-communist position. Many view the healthcare-reform legislation as the "Nixon to China" moment of the notoriously anti-socialist governor.
See also: china, Nixon

not for all the tea in China

Not for any reason or incentive whatsoever; not for anything. China has historically been one of the world's largest tea producers. But I absolutely love this jacket—I wouldn't sell it, not for all the tea in China! I'm never flying through that airport again! Not for all the tea in China!
See also: all, china, not, tea

on a slow boat to China

On a course or trajectory that will take a very long amount of time, especially with the conclusion or destination being uncertain. Sometimes used humorously or facetiously. It's been three weeks since I ordered those clothes online—is the package on a slow boat to China or something? Unfortunately, our investments seem to be on a slow boat to China at the moment due to the volatility of the market.
See also: boat, china, on, slow

only Nixon could go to China

A phrase used to highlight a political leader's unique ability to accomplish something particularly daunting or taboo. It refers to US President Richard Nixon's landmark 1972 visit to Communist China, which established diplomatic relations between the two nations. With all of your connections, I think you'll be the first mayor to get a train station built in our town—only Nixon could go to China, right?
See also: china, could, go, Nixon

what does that have to do with the price of tea in China

A rhetorical question calling attention to a non-sequitur or irrelevant statement or suggestion made by another person. Yes, I agree that health care is an important issue, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? We're discussing tax incentives for local businesses—not exactly a related topic!
See also: china, does, have, of, price, tea, that, what

What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?

A rhetorical question calling attention to a non-sequitur or irrelevant statement or suggestion made by another person. Yes, I agree that health care is an important issue, but what's that got to do with the price of tea in China? We're discussing tax incentives for local businesses—not exactly a related topic!
See also: of, price, tea, that

when (something) sneezes, (something else) catches a cold

When a person, group, or entity has a problem or experiences a negative situation, a related person, group, or entity will consequently have a worse problem or will experience a more negative situation. When Paris sneezes, Europe catches a cold. Terrorism in France affects security throughout the continent.
See also: catch, cold

wouldn't do (something) for all the tea in China

Would not do something for any reason or incentive whatsoever. China has historically been one of the world's largest tea producers. But I absolutely love this jacket—I wouldn't sell it for all the tea in China! God, after my horrible experience this summer, I wouldn't go back to that country again for all the tea in China.
See also: all, china, tea
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*bull in a china shop

Prov. a very clumsy creature in a delicate situation. (*Typically: as awkward as ~; like ~.) I never know what to say at a funeral. I feel like a bull in a china shop, trampling on feelings without even meaning to. Lester felt like a bull in a china shop; reaching for an orange, he made several elaborate pyramids of fruit tumble down.
See also: bull, china, shop

not for all the tea in China

Fig. not even if you rewarded me with all the tea in China; not for anything at all. No I won't do it—not for all the tea in China.
See also: all, china, not, tea
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bull in a china shop

An extremely clumsy person, as in Her living room, with its delicate furniture and knickknacks, made him feel like a bull in a china shop . The precise origin for this term has been lost; it was first recorded in Frederick Marryat's novel, Jacob Faithful (1834).
See also: bull, china, shop

not for all the tea in China

Not at any price, never, as in I wouldn't give up my car, not for all the tea in China. This term originated in Australia and alludes to the presumed huge quantity of tea in China. [Late 1800s] Also see for all the world; not for love or money.
See also: all, china, not, tea
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a bull in a china shop

If someone is like a a bull in a china shop, they say or do things too quickly and without considering them enough, and often upset people or damage things. In confrontational situations I am like a bull in a china shop. Although you must take charge of your life, you mustn't go at it like a bull in a china shop.
See also: bull, china, shop

when the US/UK/China, etc. sneezes, Japan/Germany, etc. catches cold

or

when the US/UK/China, etc. sneezes, Japan/Germany, etc. catches a cold

mainly BRITISH
If you say that when a particular country sneezes, another catches cold, or catches a cold, you mean that what happens to the first country has a great effect or influence on the second. And when the American economy sneezes, the City of London catches cold. As they say, when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold.
See also: catch, cold, japan, UK

not for all the tea in China

If you say that you would not do something for all the tea in China, you mean that you definitely will not do it. I wouldn't go through that again for all the tea in China. He would not change his job for all the tea in China. Note: In the past, all tea came from China.
See also: all, china, not, tea
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

like a bull in a china shop

behaving recklessly and clumsily in a place or situation where you are likely to cause damage or injury.
See also: bull, china, like, shop

all Lombard Street to a China orange

great wealth against one ordinary object; virtual certainty. dated
Lombard Street in London was originally occupied by bankers from Lombardy, and it still contains a number of London's principal banks. This idiom dates from the early 19th century, but the use of a China orange to mean ‘a worthless thing’ is recorded earlier.
See also: all, china, orange, street

not for all the tea in China

not at any price; certainly not! informal
See also: all, china, not, tea
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

like a ˌbull in a ˈchina shop

very careless or clumsy, especially in a situation where you need to be careful: He was like a bull in a china shop, treading on everyone’s feet and apologizing constantly.The Prime Minister went into the negotiations like a bull in a china shop and only made the relations between the two countries worse.
See also: bull, china, like, shop

wouldn’t do something for all the tea in ˈChina

(informal) never; not for any reason at all: ‘If you marry him you’ll be a rich woman.’ ‘I wouldn’t marry him for all the tea in China.’
See also: all, china, something, tea
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

China

n. the teeth. (see also ivories.) I spent a damn fortune trying to get this China fixed up.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

bull in a china shop (like a)

Clumsy, awkward. There are numerous theories concerning the origin of this expression, which probably was not an actual break-in by a bull. One of Aesop’s fables concerns an ass in a potter’s shop, and Charles Funk long ago suggested that a nineteenth-century British cartoonist used this idea in caricaturing John Bull (symbol for England) and his awkward dealings with the China trade. The earliest use of the precise expression found so far is in Frederick Marryat’s novel Jacob Faithful (1834).
See also: bull, china, shop

not for all the tea in China

Not at any price. Eminent lexicographers agree that this term originated in Australia in the 1890s and soon spread to the rest of the tea-drinking English-speaking world. The OED cites K. Tennant’s Ride on, Stranger (1943): “I’m not going to stand in my girl’s light for all the tea in China.”
See also: all, china, not, tea
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

bull in a china shop

Clumsily destructive. An early written example of the expression appeared in Frederick Marryat's 1834 novel, Jacob Faithful , although the image of a bull wrecking havoc as he wandered among tables and shelves of fine porcelain can be traced a century earlier. The expression can also be found in several European languages, although the animal in question is an elephant. In 1940, an American press agent led a bull through a New York City china shop as a publicity stunt. The bull didn't break anything, but a bystander trying to avoid the bull backed into a table and caused the damage.
See also: bull, china, shop

slow boat to China

A very long time. A poker players' expression for a player who constantly lost was “I'd like to get you on a slow boat to China,” meaning that the others would have all the time in the world to win the guy's money. Composer Frank Loesser used the phrase as the title and the first line of a 1948 romantic ballad, and the expression started being used as a compliment.
See also: boat, china, slow
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
See also:
References in classic literature ?
In China's councils of empire were the Japanese emissaries.
China's swift and remarkable rise was due, perhaps more than to anything else, to the superlative quality of her labour.
Contrary to expectation, China did not prove warlike.
For some time all territories adjacent to China had been grumbling at Chinese immigration; but now it suddenly came home to the world that China's population was 500,000,000.
"That would make me very unhappy," answered the china Princess.
Then the Lion gathered his legs under him and jumped on the wall; but just as he jumped, he upset a china church with his tail and smashed it all to pieces.
Why shouldn't he stop in England, and do as well as if he went to China?"
You know, as well as I do, he is going to China to make his fortune."
During that year, Frank was to remain at the office in London; his employers being informed beforehand that family circumstances prevented his accepting their offer of employment in China. He was to consider this concession as a recognition of the attachment between Magdalen and himself, on certain terms only.
They were straitened on one side by the rivalry of the Hudson's Bay Company; then they had no good post on the Pacific where they could receive supplies by sea for their establishments beyond the mountains; nor, if they had one, could they ship their furs thence to China, that great mart for peltries; the Chinese trade being comprised in the monopoly of the East India Company.
"It is a very pleasant way, and I really think I have learned more about China to-day than in all the lessons I had at school, though I used to rattle off the answers as fast as I could go.
"The king of China was extremely indignant with his daughter and replied: "You have lost your senses and you must be treated accordingly." So he had her shut in one set of rooms in one of her palaces, and only allowed her ten old women, of whom her nurse was the head, to wait on her and keep her company.
Danhasch readily consented, and after having the tower where the prince was confined pointed out to him, and making a wager with Maimoune as to the result of the comparison, he flew off to China to fetch the princess.
As he did so his eyes fell on the Princess of China. Surprised at finding a lady so near him, he raised himself on one arm to look at her.
Whilst all this was happening in the capital of Schahzaman the two genii had carefully borne the Princess of China back to her own palace and replaced her in bed.