Chinaman's chance

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Originally a reference to the socio-economic prospects of immigrant Chinese labour in the United States in the 19th century, which often involved highly dangerous work on the railroads


Chinaman's chance ‎(plural Chinamen's chances)

  1. (idiomatic, offensive) No chance; zero possibility; a high or almost certain risk of death or failure.
    • 2005, Richard Corliss, "Anna May Wong Did It Right," Time, 29 Jan.,
      The Chinese, who in the mid-19th century had come to America by the tens of thousands and helped build the transcontinental railway, were on the receiving end of much prejudicial legislation. . . . In the slang wisdom of the day, sojourners from the Middle Kingdom "didn't stand a Chinaman's chance."