not have a Chinaman's chance(redirected from doesn't have a Chinaman's chance)
not have a Chinaman's chance
offensive slang To have absolutely no chance whatsoever. This racist, 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. "Chinaman" is a racial slur for a Chinese person. A: "They don't have a Chinaman's chance of winning the championship." B: "Grandad! You can't say offensive things like that anymore!"
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer