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musical chairs

Also called going to Jerusalem. a game in which players march to music around two rows of chairs placed back to back, there being one chair less than the number of players, the object being to find a seat when the music stops abruptly. The player failing to do so is removed from the game, together with one chair, at each interval.
Informal. a situation or series of events in which jobs, decisions, prospects, etc., are changed with confusing rapidity.
Origin of musical chairs
First recorded in 1875-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for musical chairs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The company had quite enough to talk about without having to fall back on shouting proverbs or musical chairs.

    Reginald Cruden Talbot Baines Reed
  • Challenged to indicate one, she asked what was the matter with musical chairs.

    Love at Paddington W. Pett Ridge
  • Wiping his brow and whistling, he organised musical chairs; and, after musical chairs, cock-fighting.

    Tell England Ernest Raymond
  • In "musical chairs" there is one person more than the number of chairs.

    Secret Armies John L. Spivak
  • In the midst of our agitation, we were compelled to play "musical chairs" with the others, as if nothing had happened!

British Dictionary definitions for musical chairs

musical chairs

noun (functioning as sing)
a party game in which players walk around chairs while music is played, there being one fewer chair than players. Whenever the music stops, the player who fails to find a chair is eliminated
any situation involving a number of people in a series of interrelated changes
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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