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for one is an idiomatic expression, used mainly in the form of " I, for one" meaning:

that you think your opinion or action is right, even if others do not:

  • The rest of you may disagree, but I, for one, think we should go ahead with the plan. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Its usage appears to date back to the second half of the 18th century, the following example is from

A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters 1767:

... they are such that I, for one, shall not believe any lawyer capable of advising such proceedings.

My question is about the usage of for, how it became idiomatic in the expression "I, for one". The meaning could be conveyed saying, "I, as one", or "I, being one" for instance, so how did the expression form? is it the short of an archaic originally longer expression? What's the meaning of for in "for one"?

  • The meaning may be expressed "I, on behave of one", which makes "for" reasonable. – J. Taylor Feb 28 '18 at 9:48
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    I would say it’s the same for as in ‘for example’. Compare also for used when giving reasons or justifications for something: “This is a bad idea on so many levels. For one thing, you’re likely to get yourself killed, and for another, you’ll probably get me killed too”. Its meaning here is something like ‘to take’ or ‘taking … as our point of departure’ or something like that. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 28 '18 at 10:53
  • @J.Taylor do you mean "on behalf"? – Max Williams Feb 28 '18 at 11:41
  • @Max Williams..of course behalf ...English ain't that easy to spell on the fly. Thank you for the correction. – J. Taylor Feb 28 '18 at 16:42
  • What @Janus said. Effectively, I for one is short for as one of perhaps multiple possible examples, where it's contextually implied that all such examples (including myself, obviously) are of like mind as regards the subject under discussion. That's to say the important thing is it strongly implies the speaker isn't the only one who thinks that way (compare I, at least, think it's a good idea, which more or less openly admits that I might be the only person who thinks that). – FumbleFingers Feb 28 '18 at 18:36

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