Chinese


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Related to Chinese: Chinese zodiac, Chinese characters

Chinese compliment

A false or facetious display of obeisance, or an insult disguised as a compliment. A derogatory phrase, it should not be confused with the linguistic or sociological components of compliments as used in Chinese language and culture.
See also: Chinese, compliment

Chinese overtime

Overtime pay which is calculated at less than an employee's normal hourly rate (usually one-half), rather than one-and-a-half times it, as is usually paid in traditional overtime arrangements. It is a potentially derogatory term, so discretion is advised. Overall, I love having the flexibility to work the hours that I see fit; the only downside is that I only get Chinese overtime when I have to put in more time for a project than usual.
See also: Chinese, overtime

Chinese puzzle

1. A puzzle game consisting of intricate and complex pieces that fit together in a specific manner, especially of multiple boxes that fit inside one another. My uncle gave me this Chinese puzzle for Christmas, and I still haven't been able to solve it!
2. Any problem, question, or situation that is especially complex or difficult to understand. Dealing with growing income inequality is truly a Chinese puzzle for lawmakers today. I can't understand a thing about how this engine works, it's like a dang Chinese puzzle!
See also: Chinese, puzzle

Chinese wall

(sometimes Chinese Wall) A figurative barrier meant to impede or silence the flow of information between two or more parties so as to stop or limit conflicts of interest from arising, as in investment banking or law firms. An allusion to the Great Wall of China. Because of the sheer size of the company, many departments represent competing clients and interests, so several Chinese walls are in place to make sure no one can be accused of benefitting from insider knowledge.
See also: Chinese, wall

Chinese whispers

1. A game played between a group of people in which a story or message is told by one person in secret to another, who then retells it to the next, and so on, with the resulting end message usually differing widely (and often amusingly) from the original. It can be considered a pejorative term, so discretion is advised. Primarily heard in UK. Chinese whispers is a great game—it's always hilarious to see what the last person has interpreted by the end!
2. Any information or gossip that has been spread and retold by multiple parties, thus obfuscating, distorting, or exaggerating the original information. A somewhat pejorative term, it takes its name from the party game described above. Primarily heard in UK. The firm's CEO denounced the rumors of impending layoffs as being nothing more than Chinese whispers. It's a common occurrence that sensationalist news headlines devolve into Chinese whispers, thus leading a large number of people to accept misinformation as fact.
See also: Chinese, whisper

have more chins than a Chinese phone book

To be exceptionally or exceedingly fat, i.e., having multiple rolls of fat (chins) on one's neck. Used as a humorous insult, the phrase is a (somewhat derogatory) pun on the word chin and the supposed commonness of "Chin" as a Chinese surname. Your mama is so fat, she has more chins than a Chinese phone book!
See also: book, chin, Chinese, have, more, phone

Chinese fire drill

A politically incorrect term for chaos. The phrase supposedly originated in the early 1900s. A ship with British officers and a Chinese crew practiced an engine room fire drill. The bucket brigade drew water from the ship's starboard side, carried it to the engine room, and simulated throwing it on the “fire.” Another crew carried the buckets to the main deck and threw the water over the port side. But when orders became confused in translation, the bucket brigade started to draw the water from the starboard side, run over to the port side, and then throw the water overboard, bypassing the engine room completely. A 1960s stunt was for a carload of teenagers of college students to stop at a red light, whereupon at the command “Chinese fire drill,” driver and passengers got out, ran around the car, and returned to their original seats. The same idea is sometimes heard as the equally politically incorrect “Chinese square dance.”
See also: Chinese, drill, fire
References in classic literature ?
While waiting for slack water, in which to lift their heavy nets from the bed of the bay, the Chinese had all gone to sleep below.
The decks were beginning to swarm with half-awakened and half-naked Chinese.
But best of all, from the standpoint of Japan, the Chinese was a kindred race.
In the years immediately following the war with Russia, her agents swarmed over the Chinese Empire.
She was just trying to impress upon her mind that Amoy was two hundred and eighty miles from Hong Kong, when Fun came scuffling back, bearing what she thought was a small sword, till he unfurled an immense fan, and presented it with a string of Chinese compliments, the meaning of which would have amused her even more than the sound, if she could have understood it.
Whang Lo had given her a Chinese umbrella; Uncle Alec had got some lanterns to light up her balcony; the great fan lay in her lap, and the tea-set reposed at her feet.
This long consumer, who had probably never done an honest day's-work in his life, sprung the lid of a Chinese tobacco-box and with thumb and forefinger forked out a wad like a small haycock.
We could converse with our captors only through the medium of interpreters who spoke both Chinese and Abyssinian.
The Philippines are well administered, and constitute one of the most progressive colonies of the Chinese empire.
His hand stretched towards the Grammar, and soon he was turning over the pages, raising his eyebrows scornfully, perhaps at human nature, perhaps at Chinese.
Also, he was in debt three hundred dollars to the Six Companies--you know, they're Chinese affairs.
But he had a head on him, and he was soon onto the curves of the Chinese farmers that dealt at his store.
tittered Flora; 'but of course you never did why should you, pray don't answer, I don't know where I'm running to, oh do tell me something about the Chinese ladies whether their eyes are really so long and narrow always putting me in mind of mother-of-pearl fish at cards and do they really wear tails down their back and plaited too or is it only the men, and when they pull their hair so very tight off their foreheads don't they hurt themselves, and why do they stick little bells all over their bridges and temples and hats and things or don't they really do it?
The old man was amazed at this relation, and told us we were in the right to go away to the north; and that, if he might advise us, it should be to sell the ship in China, which we might well do, and buy, or build another in the country; adding that I should meet with customers enough for the ship at Nankin, that a Chinese junk would serve me very well to go back again, and that he would procure me people both to buy one and sell the other.
They appeared in the form of a copious review of a work on Chinese metaphysics, Sir,' said Pott.