Definition of musical chairs

: a game in which players march to music around a row of chairs numbering one less than the players and scramble for seats when the music stops also : a situation or series of events suggesting the game of musical chairs (as in rapid change or confusing activity)

Examples of musical chairs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But the real problem is a military assignment system that is managed like a game of musical chairs. Kate Bachelder Odell, WSJ, "Not Every Officer Wants to Be a General," 20 May 2019 The summer session of athletic director musical chairs is in full swing. Adam Baum,, "Oak Hills, Turpin high schools name new athletic directors," 12 July 2018 In an era of designer musical chairs, when creative directors are given three years—or even less—to make a brand work, Lagerfeld was the éminence grise that broke the rule. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Legendary Designer Karl Lagerfeld Has Died," 19 Feb. 2019 These days, in the era of #MeToo, the musical chairs politics of such portrait galleries has accelerated, as scores of former masters of the universe have become pariahs overnight. Town & Country, "Wall of Shame: What Happens to Controversial Portrait Walls in the #MeToo Era?," 30 Nov. 2018 Anyone else kind of interested to see how grown-up musical chairs turns out? Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Redbook, "New Reality Show: Musical Chairs for Adults," 15 Jan. 2012 Newsletter Sign-up After a plant closes, those employees are left playing musical chairs, hoping to land a spot at another nuclear plant even as that job pool shrinks. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "High-Paying Jobs in Nuclear Power Aren’t Looking So Safe Anymore," 28 Dec. 2018 Impatient brands constantly opt to toss one name for another, and this game of designer musical chairs has talent proclaiming they are burned out. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "The Calvin Klein brand hired big-name fashion designer Raf Simons to build relevancy. Now he’s out.," 27 Dec. 2018 The Orioles optioned rookie catcher Chance Sisco back to Triple-A Norfolk following Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers, continuing the club’s peculiar roster rotation of musical chairs among its catchers. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Orioles option catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'musical chairs.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of musical chairs

1877, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for musical chairs

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for musical chairs

The first known use of musical chairs was in 1877

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More Definitions for musical chairs

musical chairs


English Language Learners Definition of musical chairs

: a children's game in which players walk around a row of chairs while music plays and try to sit down when the music stops
: a situation in which many changes happen in a way that is confusing or harmful

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with musical chairs

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showing courage and determination

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