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QUICK QUOTE

Idiom

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

Meaning
A group is only as powerful as its weakest member
Origin

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link Today, ‘The Weakest Link’ is a popular British quiz show on television. The show focuses on a group of contestants, to see which contestant has the weakest or least general knowledge. Similar to this, the origin of this idiom is in its literal meaning, that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link or part. By the 18th century, this phrase had appeared in print. In Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1786), he wrote:

‘In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.’

Examples

I feel bad for letting my team down at the pub quiz last night, but I suppose a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

My coach won’t let me play in the rugby game since I injured my arm last week. He says a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, though I feel fine!

We win as a team and lose as a team. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

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