clowns. send in the clowns
- A phrase said when something goes wrong, meaning 'keep thingsgoing' or 'the show must go on'. It comes from the circus where, ifthere was an accident, backstage drama, or other problem, the clownswere sent into the ring to divert the audience. The expression datesfrom the 1930s. 'Send in the Clowns' is the title of an evocativesong by the US composer Stephen Sondheim, first heard inhis 1973 musical A Little Night Music.