Chicken (game)

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In a deadly game called chicken, two automobile drivers drive toward each other, head-on, at full speed. The first motorist to veer off, loses. Sometimes both motorists "win," and the two cars collide. With often tragic, and certainly expensive, results.

"Chicken" has become a metaphor for certain literal or figurative combats between two persons, or two groups. In such combats, each side threatens the other with a deadly, or at least expensive, sanction. Perhaps one side threatens to sue the other. That other side might threaten to lay information with the police against the first. As each side prepares to act as they threaten, the game is on. If both act, the "cars" have collided.

Historians describe the Cuban Missile Crisis as a game of chicken. Even an official involved so characterizes it:

We were eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked.