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English Proverb: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

English Proverb: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

English Proverb: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

The proverb which is going to be discussed here in this post related to someone or something which can affect the other people or things around.

Proverb #91

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

Meaning:

  • One weak part will render the whole weak
  • If one person fails, the whole group will fails
  • A group is only as strong or successful as its weakest or least successful member
  • If one part of something is weak, it jeopardizes the integrity, quality, or effectiveness of the whole
  • If one link in a chain is weak, and all the other links are strong, the whole chain is weak
  • It refers to personal or technical failure in a team due to one component rather than an actual chain
  • A successful group or team relies on each member doing well

Let’s start our explanation with a conversational example:

Beth: I though Liverpool lost the final just because of Mohammad Salah.
James: Why you think so?
Beth: He is the strongest link in his team.
James: You believe a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

We can understand from the above example that Liverpool couldn’t win the final game because Mohammad Salah (Liverpool’s captain) was wounded and that’s why Liverpool couldn’t win the final game.  

This proverb is used by two different forms as:

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link

While both of them have the same meaning and usage.

Origin:

This phrase appeared in Thomas Reid’s “The Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man,” for the first time in1786:

“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.”

The full phrase “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link” was first printed in Cornhill Magazine in 1868.

Anne Robinson hosted a show in the United Kingdom called ‘The Weakest Link’ which had an Indian version hosted by Neena Gupta. It seems to be the most popular reference to this proverb. The lack of knowledge and banking at the correct time causes people to lose money on this show and hence the person responsible is termed as the weakest link. The show humiliates the weakest link and cuts them off.  

English Proverb: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
English Proverb: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

Let’s take a look at some examples about this proverb to understand it better:

• I want to be sure that everyone on our debate team has been well-prepared, because a chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and our security can’t be so effective if any of the checkpoints are not functioning correctly.

• Thomas is completely out of his correct position so I have to substitute him with Jerry for next match; a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

• An organization or company is only as strong or powerful as its weakest person.

• A team of football is only as strong as its laziest teammate.

• No matter how confident the team is, it is as strong as its weakest link – its defender.

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