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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

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 they so choose.
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

grab a chair

Sit down. Why don't you grab a chair and join us, Scott?
See also: chair, grab

keep (one) on the edge of (one's) chair

To make one (especially a member of an audience) feel very excited, nervous, or filled with suspense while they wait to find out what happens next. Often said of a movie or TV show. The image is that of one literally sitting on the front of their chair because they are unable to sit back and relax. More commonly seen as "keep (one) on the edge of (one's) seat." It's not going to win any Oscars, but the film certainly kept us on the edge of our seats the entire time! The scandal has kept everyone on the edge of their chair waiting to see what details emerge next.
See also: chair, edge, keep, of, on

keep (one's) chair

obsolete To remain seated (in one's chair). The ship pitched back and forth so violently in the storm that it was impossible to keep one's chair. I have asked the audience to keep their chairs until the very end of the performance.
See also: chair, keep

nearly fall off (one's) chair

To react to something with great shock or surprise. I nearly fell off my chair when Justin offered to do the dishes after dinner!
See also: chair, fall, nearly, off

nearly fall out of (one's) chair

To react to something with great shock or surprise. I nearly fell out of my chair when Justin offered to do the dishes after dinner!
See also: chair, fall, nearly, of, out

on the edge of (one's) chair

Excited, nervous, or filled with suspense while one waits to find out what happens next. Often said of those viewing a movie or TV show. The image is that of one literally sitting on the front of their chair because they are unable to sit back and relax. More commonly seen as "on the edge of (one's) seat." It's not going to win any awards, but the film certainly kept us on the edge of our chair from start to finish. I've been on the edge of my chair waiting for my acceptance letter.
See also: chair, edge, of, on

on the edge of (one's) seat

Excited, nervous, or filled with suspense while one waits to find out what happens next. Often said of those viewing a movie or TV show. The image is that of one literally sitting on the front of their chair because they are unable to sit back and relax. It's not going to win any awards, but the film certainly kept us on the edge of our seat from start to finish. I've been on the edge of my seat waiting for my acceptance letter.
See also: edge, of, on, seat

play first chair

To function as the leader of a particular section in a band, or of the band as a whole. Hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. I remember there being a lot of pressure when I played first chair for the university's chamber orchestra, but I loved the thrill of the spotlight and the responsibility. The conductor wanted me to play first-chair brass for the foreseeable future.
See also: chair, first, play

play musical chairs

1. Literally, to play the children's game known as "musical chairs," in which participants walk around a circle of chairs until the music stops and each person tries to sit on a chair. There are always fewer chairs than players, and the person who remains standing is removed from the game after each round, until only one remains. Mommy, can we play musical chairs at my birthday party?
2. To move, shuffle, or rearrange people from one position to another, as in a group or organization. After the boss resigned, everyone started playing musical chairs in the company to figure out who would take over for whom. We've been playing musical chairs trying to create enough space in the living room for Alex's birthday party this weekend.
See also: chair, musical, play

pull up a chair

1. expression Come sit with us. (The listener may not have to physically move a chair in order to join the group,) The meeting's just getting started—pull up a chair.
2. verb To move a chair in order to sit with a person or group. I pulled up a chair and joined the others at the conference table.
See also: chair, pull, up

the chair

euphemism The electric chair. Thank God they caught the monster responsible for those murders. I hope they give him the chair. They're one of the last few states who use the chair to execute prisoners.
See also: chair

you can't sit in two chairs at once

You cannot do or accomplish multiple things simultaneously, so you must choose what is most important to you to pursue. Possibly from Yiddish. The Prime Minister will have to make a decision on how to deal with this soon. You can't sit in two chairs at once. Look, either be with me here, or go take the job in London. It's your choice, but you can't sit in two chairs at once.
See also: chair, once, sit, two

you can't sit in two chairs at the same time

You cannot do or accomplish multiple things simultaneously, so you must choose what is most important to you to pursue. Possibly from Yiddish. The Prime Minister will have to make a decision on how to deal with this soon. You can't sit in two chairs at the same time. Look, either be with me here, or go take the job in London. It's your choice, but you can't sit in two chairs at the same time.
See also: chair, same, sit, time, two

you can't sit in two chairs with one butt

You cannot do or accomplish two things simultaneously, so you must be decisive in choosing or pursuing one. Possibly from Yiddish. The Prime Minister will have to make a decision on how to deal with this soon. You can't sit in two chairs with one butt. Look, either be with me here, or go take the job in London. It's your choice, but you can't sit in two chairs with one butt.
See also: butt, chair, one, sit, two

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

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

keep you on the edge of your seat

BRITISH or

keep you on the edge of your chair

AMERICAN
If a film, programme or performance keeps you on the edge of your seat, it is very exciting and makes you watch with great concentration, wanting to know what will happen next. Based on the Stephen King book, it is the kind of story that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Note: You can also say something has you on the edge of your seat or chair. Saturday night's final had the spectators on the edge of their seats. Note: You can also say edge-of-the-seat before a noun. It's a real action-packed edge-of-the-seat thriller.
See also: edge, keep, of, on, seat

on the ˌedge of your ˈseat/ˈchair

very excited and giving your full attention to something: The film was so exciting it had me on the edge of my seat right until the last moment.
See also: chair, edge, of, on, seat

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

play musical chairs, to

To swap jobs, prospects, or decisions in a rapid, confusing fashion. The term comes from a children’s game, also called “going to Jerusalem,” in which the players march to music around a row of chairs where every other chair faces in the opposite direction. When the music stops, the players must sit down, but, there being one fewer chair than the number of players, one player cannot and is eliminated (along with one more chair). The name of the game was transferred to job changes within a corporation or other organization in the early twentieth century. Britain’s former prime minister, Sir Harold Wilson, played on it in his book, The Governance of Britain (1976): “Hence the practised performances of latter-day politicians in the game of musical daggers: never be left holding the dagger when the music stops.”
See also: musical, play
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