circus

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three-ring circus

A chaotic situation, often one in which a lot of activity is occurring simultaneously. I felt like I was in a three-ring circus when I babysat my neighbor's three noisy, mischievous children. Without the boss around, the business quickly devolved into a three-ring circus.
See also: circus

bread and circuses

Things given or presented in an attempt to please (or at least distract) disgruntled people. The phrase comes from the Roman poet Juvenal. I really think this event is just bread and circuses to get us to stop protesting.
See also: and, bread, circus

like a three-ring circus

Fig. chaotic; exciting and busy. Our household is like a three-ring circus on Monday mornings. This meeting is like a three-ring circus. Quiet down and listen!
See also: circus, like

three-ring circus

A situation of complete confusion, as in It was a three-ring circus, with the baby crying, the dog barking, both telephones ringing, and someone at the front door . This term alludes to a circus where three rings or arenas are featuring performances simultaneously. Perhaps invented by show business impresario P.T. Barnum, the term was extended to other confused situations by about 1900.
See also: circus

bread and circuses

People use bread and circuses to talk about a situation in which a government provides people with things which seem to make their lives more enjoyable in order to stop them complaining about important problems. He limited political dissent through a policy of bread and circuses backed up by a fearsome secret police. Our children and grandchildren will curse us for squandering their prosperity in exchange for today's bread and circuses. Note: This is a translation of a phrase in a satire by the Roman poet Juvenal. It refers to the fact that, in ancient Rome, the authorities provided the people with public amusements and food in order to prevent possible rebellion.
See also: and, bread, circus

a three-ring circus

AMERICAN
If you describe a situation as a three-ring circus, you mean there is a lot of noisy or confused activity. Grief was a private thing, not something to be turned into a three-ring circus by over-eager reporters. Cooking needn't be a three-ring circus of sweat and tears.
See also: circus

bread and circuses

material benefits and entertainment employed by rulers or political parties to keep the masses happy and docile.
Bread and circuses is a translation of the Latin phrase panem et circenses , which appeared in Juvenal's Satires, and which alludes to the Roman emperors' organization of grain handouts and gladiatorial games for the populace.
See also: and, bread, circus

a three-ring circus

1 a circus with three rings for simultaneous performances. 2 a public spectacle, especially one with little substance.
2 1998 Spectator Along the way, these meetings have lost all that might have made them worthwhile…and have turned into a travelling three-ring circus.
See also: circus
References in periodicals archive ?
Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International, said: "We urge everyone in the Barry area to shun animal circuses and instead visit circuses with human-only acts - acts who have a choice.
The Captive Animals Protection Society has long been campaigning against the use of animals in circuses.
A group of seven activists stood outside the circus on its opening night on Wednesday in a bid to raise awareness over the circus's use of animals the group is campaigning for a UK-wide ban on the use of animals in circuses.
Clr John Smithson, of Kirklees Council, said the concerns were that animals were ill-treated in circuses and were forced to do unnatural things.
Craig Redmonds, a CAPS campaigner, said the group was shocked at conditions it found at the circuses it investigated.
In contrast, European performers are considered artists; and European circuses are often afforded the same level of respect and government subsidies as symphonies, theaters and opera houses.
The circus became the world's first mass market entertainment, it was pivotal to the development of advertising and by the start of the 20th century military leaders were turning to the three ring circuses to learn how to move thousands of people, animals and pieces of equipment quickly across large distances.
Circuses come in a variety of shapes and forms, and in the general sense can include variations such as menageries, freak shows, side shows, exhibitions, festivals, and other sensational displays of human, animal, and/or natural peculiarities.
Animal welfare activist Joe Blakesley told the Daily Post: "Circus Mondao is one of the few circuses in the UK to still feature animals.
The impact of circuses on animal welfare is serious and potentially debilitating for each and every animal involved.
JEDDAH: Jeddah has now witnessed two international circuses with the Italian Belucci Circus witnessing more than 18,000 visitors of different nationalities in past 10 days starting July 18 with the beginning of the 36th Jeddah festival.
Nothing against circuses as per se, but everything against the involvement of animals as a form of entertainment.
American and Canadian circuses with animals - and they do exist - don't like Cirque du Soleil.
There are many kinds of circuses out there, she noted.