Definition of three-ring circus in US English:

three-ring circus


North American
  • A public spectacle, especially one with little substance.

    ‘his attempt at a dignified resignation turned into a three-ring circus’
    • ‘So it's become a three-ring circus in terms of lawsuits.’
    • ‘Of course the whole luggage unloading process was a three-ring circus that held the train up about 30 minutes, so we were not surprised.’
    • ‘If you live in New York or if you've ever visited New York, you know that every subway station has the potential to be a three-ring circus.’
    • ‘She was, and is, witty and talkative, the ringleader of the three-ring circus round our table when I was growing up.’
    • ‘With the constant three-ring circus, and mutual negotiations now far behind, a solution does not seem likely in the near future.’
    • ‘This is a three-ring circus that may well turn into a witch hunt, with pitchforks and torches available at the concession stands.’
    • ‘The film is a three-ring circus, disjointed and somewhat confusing.’
    • ‘She has directed with consummate skill and sass, able to keep in clear focus what is sometimes a three-ring circus.’
    • ‘As various track and field events vie for attention, athletics meets can sometimes seem like a three-ring circus.’
    • ‘I never meant to get involved in the three-ring circus of the Human Genome Project.’
    • ‘He has a good article on why the commission hearings should have been private and discreet, rather than the three-ring circus we have now.’
    • ‘This campaign is a three-ring circus and it's mostly his fault.’
    • ‘The band are showmen with no gimmicks outside of their songs: all they have is a three-ring circus within each tune to keep you occupied, enough musicians for three bands, and enough ideas for 30.’
    • ‘A talented designer knows how to selectively insert graphics into a Web page to enhance and give greater meaning to the copy without it looking like a three-ring circus.’
    • ‘Whenever an election turns into a three-ring circus, I cast my baleful eye upon the proceedings and wonder what's really going on.’
    • ‘He seemed a little bit wary of the three-ring circus he had unknowingly walked into.’
    • ‘She seemed bemused by the star's decision not to turn her wedding into a three-ring circus but to go for something quiet with a few guests and no helicopters full of long lenses flying overhead.’
    • ‘‘It truly is a three-ring circus in here,’ says Pollock, shouting directives to couriers between phrases, as Youn scrambles through faxes and emails.’
    • ‘Cannes may appear to be a three-ring circus of high art, low commerce and relentless self - promotion, but underneath the red carpet premieres and parties it is an irresistible celebration of the best in world cinema.’
    • ‘At 7: 30 this morning, when the subway is typically and rightfully sleeping, it was more like a three-ring circus.’
    bedlam, madhouse, mayhem, maelstrom, babel, chaos, pandemonium, uproar, turmoil, turbulence, swirl, tumult, hurly-burly, commotion, disorder, jumble, disarray, confusion, seething mass, welter
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three-ring circus

/ˈTHrē ˌriNG ˈsərkəs//ˈθri ˌrɪŋ ˈsərkəs/