Definition of musical chairs in English:

musical chairs


  • 1A party game in which players compete for a decreasing number of chairs, the losers in successive rounds being those unable to find a chair to sit on when the accompanying music is abruptly stopped.

    • ‘There were plenty of party games such as musical chairs and step-on-the-balloons.’
    • ‘These types of games were firmly in the province of small kids who ate jelly and played ‘pass-the-parcel’ and musical chairs at birthday parties.’
    • ‘I hate musical chairs and dodge ball and any game that may single out one little kid for losing.’
    • ‘One study even pooh-poohed the games of duck-duck-goose and musical chairs, suggesting they inflict emotional damage.’
    • ‘It's a child's game - musical chairs - but this time, it's teaching a lesson in leadership.’
    • ‘Two favorite activities were games of musical chairs - which these youth had never played before and enjoyed hugely - and learning to swim.’
    • ‘On the other hand, another long-time children's party game of musical chairs has been accused of breeding violence and of rewarding only the ‘strongest and fastest’.’
    1. 1.1A series of changes or exchanges of position, especially in a political or commercial organization.
      ‘the appointment of the chief executive comes after a prolonged period of musical chairs involving top management’
      • ‘They are continuing to play musical chairs here in the executive suite of our parent company.’
      • ‘It seems that the wicket-keeper's slot is only a game of musical chairs.’
      • ‘Information security is going to be like a game of musical chairs for security vendors.’
      • ‘Had this legislation been in place, this part would have been a very important part, and it would have been used many times with the game of musical chairs that has been played by the directors of Maori television.’
      • ‘And it's hard to imagine any party whip considering him to be a reliable MP either, though it does appear that he has a natural talent for the Political Party game of musical chairs.’
      • ‘It is little wonder that the building industry is crying out for some reasonable leadership and rules, when that sort of game of musical chairs is occurring on the Government benches.’
      • ‘Through the 1980s the Pakistan captaincy had alternated between the two, a game of musical chairs in which prime ministers and generals also participated, behind the scenes.’
      • ‘This is why, as in Georgia, the Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, it is foolish for those who really oppose the regimes to imagine that genuine change can come through musical chairs at the top and the hope of support from afar.’
      • ‘It details the musical chairs to be played for the top city Police job.’
      • ‘The last two decades have seen the growth of HR agencies gleefully poaching experienced IT personnel and simply moving them around the same ever-needy companies in a costly game of musical chairs.’
      • ‘I have little doubt that the elections will be only a game of musical chairs that will yield a government of the parties already collaborating with the occupiers.’
      • ‘Until his announcement of his bid for the presidency, the 2004 presidential election was looking more like a game of musical chairs for the same existing players.’
      • ‘This game of parliamentary musical chairs will be repeated here in May next year, and when the music stops it won't really make a difference to our lives who is left sitting in the big armchair.’
      • ‘The politics of the 1970s resembled the children's game of musical chairs; whoever was sitting on the right chair would inherit the bounty of the oil.’
      • ‘With Bulgaria's top officials playing musical chairs as the new government comes into power, they had better be paying attention to this developing problem.’
      • ‘Each time a President wins a second term, a game of musical chairs ensues.’
      • ‘In City Hall politics, nothing is as much fun as watching and speculating on the annual game of musical chairs: City Council committee assignments.’
      • ‘Say what you may about the inevitable reorganisation, it is certainly making for a nerve-tingling end of term with seven teams engaging in a game of footballing musical chairs in the race for Premier Division status next season.’
      • ‘Throw in the usual growing pains linked to finding suitable premises, skilled staff and a spot of management musical chairs, and you get some sense of how difficult business creation actually is.’


musical chairs

/ˈˌmyo͞ozəkəl ˈCHe(ə)rz/