musical chairs

noun, plural in form but singular in construction

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 The race drew media coverage after political game of musical chairs, in which several prominent California officials rose to higher office, leaving a train of vacancies behind them. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "79th Assembly race drew media attention but not voter turnout," 9 Apr. 2021 It’s like a giant game of musical chairs, with players looking for greener pastures and coaches looking to upgrade their rosters. Adam Zagoria, Forbes, "Gonzaga Favored To Win 2022 NCAA Championship, Followed By Baylor, UCLA, Michigan, Duke," 6 Apr. 2021 There was no stage, in the traditional sense, just the meticulous arrangement of pairs of seats in a dark room, as though we were being prepared for a big game of musical chairs. New York Times, "‘Blindness’ Review: Listening to the Sound of Theater Again," 6 Apr. 2021 And so in a bittersweet game of musical chairs, Golden Wat moved into the cottage home of the couple’s NOLA Brunch & Beignets in February, while NOLA moved into the Cookhouse space. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "3 new San Antonio Asian restaurants, including Cambodian at Golden Wat, some of S.A.'s best sushi at Shiro, plus ramen at Yokai," 1 Apr. 2021 Becerra will have to resign his current position as California attorney general, potentially setting in motion another round of political musical chairs. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Becerra goes to Washington," 19 Mar. 2021 One of the biggest problems is that Senate committees have to be rejiggered to even out the number of members from each party, and that means, as in the child’s game of musical chairs, somebody will end up without a seat. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Austin appears a lock for confirmation, as Senate votes Friday," 22 Jan. 2021 The year-to-year, musical chairs effect of the NFL playoff picture is in full swing again. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Patrick Mahomes adds layers to definition of what it means to be an 'impact' player," 7 Nov. 2020 Like always, the NHL went through its usual game of musical chairs in the offseason. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "NHL all-division format will be dynamic," 12 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for musical chairs

Time Traveler

The first known use of musical chairs was in 1877

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Statistics for musical chairs

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Musical chairs.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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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