Mexican standoff


noun Informal: Sometimes Offensive.

a stalemate or impasse; a confrontation that neither side can win.

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Origin of Mexican standoff

First recorded in 1890–95

usage note for Mexican standoff

This expression is sometimes perceived as insulting to or by Mexicans. Its origin in the late 19th century may be connected to American perceptions of encounters with Mexican bandits of that era.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020