three-ring circus

Use Three-ring circus in a sentence

three-ring circus

[three-ring]
noun
1.
a circus having three adjacent rings in which performances take place simultaneously.
2.
something spectacular, tumultuous, entertaining, or full of confused action: Our family reunions are always three-ring circuses.
Also, three-ringed circus.


Origin:
1880–85, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
three-ring circus
 
n
1.  a circus with three rings in which separate performances are carried on simultaneously
2.  a situation of confusion, characterized by a bewildering variety of events or activities

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Operating a banana plantation is as complicated as a three-ring circus or an
  army in the field.
Teachers are aware that sometimes they must conduct a three-ring circus.
It was evident early on that this would be a three-ring circus, our attention
  being pulled in many directions.
He sees his house as a combination three-ring circus and zoo.
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