Can anybody give me a good example or two of the idiom "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link"?


closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, TimLymington, tchrist, andy256, choster Dec 14 '14 at 16:52

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    If you mean 'suggest another common saying with the same meaning', you should make that clear. If you mean 'supply context in the form of a situation where the saying would be appropriate', you can Google the expression yourself. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 13 '14 at 21:40
  • How do you interpret "suggest another common saying with the same meaning" in my question? Do you have a problem interpreting things? That's not what was asked at all. – whippoorwill Dec 13 '14 at 22:27
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    @whippoorwill Edwin was asking because he was giving you the benefit of the doubt that you were asking an on-topic question, and had just worded it poorly. Asking for concrete examples of proverbial situations cannot be construed as a question of English. You could, of course, ask for the English idiom which most closely corresponds to a specific situation l, because the answer will be about the English language. With all that said: a chain under stress which breaks will break at its weakest link. Voila, example. – Dan Bron Dec 13 '14 at 22:48
  • Need an example of usage? Web search it. Why would you need an expert in English Language and Usage to do that trivial thing? Need an explanation of its meaning? GR. Define good? Primarily opinion based. Random example? Too broad/unclear what you're asking. In essense: What would represent a single, authoritative expert answer to your question? – SrJoven Dec 14 '14 at 0:30
  • It is not a frequently-used idiom, but it is readily understood. Probably most often used when discussing how (poorly) society works, but could be used in many other contexts. – Hot Licks Dec 14 '14 at 4:09

Common Connotation: That a group of entities working together, for the same purpose, cannot be any more successful in that purpose or goal than the extent of success capable for the entity in the group who is least proficient with the skills needed in the achievement of the goal or purpose, regardless of the strength of any of the other entities contributing to the purpose or goal.

Here is an example: There are 5 players on a basketball court working together to score points against the five players of the other team, using many skills: passing, defending, knowing pre-planned plays, ball-shooting accuracy, etc. One of the players drops 95% of all passes thrown to him, and the other 4 players are far more proficient in all required skills...The team will score far less points because of that butterfingered player than if he were replaced by a 5th player of greater skill ability.


The strength of a sequence of interconnected components cannot exceed the strength of the weakest component in that sequence.


The idiom 'Achilles' heel' may represent the concept you want to convey:

  • a fault or weakness that causes or could cause someone or something to fail

(from M-W)

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