[ chahy-nuh-muhn ]

noun,plural Chi·na·men.
  1. Older Use: Offensive. a term used to refer to a Chinese person or a person of Chinese descent.

  2. (often lowercase)Older Slang: Offensive. a person regarded as one's benefactor, sponsor, or protector.

  1. (lowercase)Archaic. a person who imports or sells china.

Idioms about Chinaman

  1. a Chinaman's chance, Older Use: Offensive. the slightest chance.

Origin of Chinaman

First recorded in 1765–75; China + -man

usage note For Chinaman

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 The expression a Chinaman's chance originally made reference to these Chinese laborers, though the exact origin of the phrase is disputed.

Words Nearby Chinaman Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Chinaman in a sentence

  • Because in far distant times he saved the life of a Chinaman from the fury of a crocodile.

  • In the dimly-lighted doorway of a corner house the figure of a Chinaman showed as a motionless silhouette.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • Upon one of the tea-chests placed beside the cupboard which had contained the lantern a Chinaman was seated.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • Sin Sin Wa never moved, and the raven, settling down upon the Chinaman's shoulder, closed his serviceable eye.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer
  • But it had been altered to suit the Chinaman's purpose, and one end—that in which the passage came out—was timbered.

    Dope | Sax Rohmer

British Dictionary definitions for Chinaman


/ (ˈtʃaɪnəmən) /

nounplural -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