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Chinaman

[chahy-nuh-muh n] /ˈtʃaɪ nə mən/
noun, plural Chinamen.
1.
Older Use: Usually Offensive. a term used to refer to a Chinese or a person of Chinese descent.
2.
(lowercase) Archaic. a person who imports or sells china.
3.
(often lowercase) Political Slang. a person regarded as one's benefactor, sponsor, or protector:
to see one's chinaman about a favor.
Idioms
4.
a Chinaman's chance, Usually Offensive. the slightest chance:
He hasn't a Chinaman's chance of getting that job.
Origin
1765-1775
1765-75; China + -man
Usage note
Historically, Chinaman was a neutral compound word, similar to Irishman or Englishman, but it began to take on negative connotations in the 19th century, when many Chinese immigrants went to work in the American West. The expression a Chinaman's chance originally made reference to these Chinese laborers, though the exact origin of the phrase is disputed.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for chinaman's chance

Chinaman

/ˈtʃaɪnəmən/
noun (pl) -men
1.
(archaic or derogatory) a native or inhabitant of China
2.
(often not capital) (cricket) a ball bowled by a left-handed bowler to a right-handed batsman that spins from off to leg
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for chinaman's chance

Chinaman

noun
  1. A sailor who works in a ship's laundry (1950s+ Merchant marine)
  2. A police officer's patron and influential political friend; rabbi: police officer needed a Chinaman, or sponsor (1970s+ Police)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with chinaman's chance
Also,
ghost of a chance
. An extremely slim chance, a hopeless undertaking. Both versions are most often put negatively, as in
He hasn't a Chinaman's chance of finishing the work in time
, or
They haven't a ghost of a chance to get as far as the playoffs
. The first term, now considered offensive, dates from the late 1800s when many Chinese immigrants came to work in California and were resented because they worked for lower wages. Its precise allusion is unclear. The variant, which relies on the meaning of
ghost
as an insubstantial shadow, dates from the mid-1800s. Also see the synonyms
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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