3

It suddenly popped into my mind when I wanted to acknowledge my colleague's strength and determination in face of adversity and sickness. I am curious about where the phrase "(strength) on the part of" comes from.

A quick google search for strength on the part of phrase and "strength on part" phrase did not give very promising results. One of the top results is a different unrelated phrase from Macmillan:

on the strength of
based on what you saw, heard, experienced etc
I heard their new single, and on the strength of that I bought the album.

Sample sentences :

  • The limited use of machines to replace tasks done by workers means that the work requires a lot of strength on the part of the worker. - libcom.org
  • This required great Courage, Skill & Strength on part of the #TeamIAF. - twitter.com
  • Changes in manikin drag performance seem to be associated with improvement in overall upper torso muscular strength on part of the participants from both groups. - apps.dtic.mil
  • In such a case it requires a great disparity of size and strength on part of the slayer, and a very violent assault on part of his assailant, to excuse it. - Select American Cases on the Law of Self-defence (by L. B. Horrigan, Seymour Dwight Thompson)
5
  • 1
    "I wondered how have I acquired the phrase" Literally only you can answer that. As you can see from the Google results, this isn't a well established phrase. It might help if you add a full sentence, including the phrase, showing how you use it. Aug 5 at 7:15
  • Ack. Edited the question with examples of full sentences illustrating usage. Hope this helps. Aug 5 at 8:14
  • 4
    The expression is on (the) part of with any quality before it, not only strength, just as your examples show.
    – fev
    Aug 5 at 8:31
  • 1
    @ermanen Thank you for the edits. Since this was my first time asking a question here, I didn't get the formatting right. Aug 5 at 13:34
  • @Panda142308 No problem. You did a good job for your first question, and it is a good phrase origin question that can't be answered easily. I've just formatted better and made the question a bit more clear. You can see some formatting tips in my edit in the edit history. Here is a useful link for formatting also: meta.stackexchange.com/help/formatting
    – ermanen
    Aug 5 at 13:46

1 Answer 1

5

The phrase on the part of (also on a person's part) goes back as early as 1385, first used by Chaucer in his epic poem Troilus and Criseyde. Here is the definition of the phrase and the earliest citation from OED:

on the side of, as regards (a person); as far as (a specified person) is concerned; proceeding from (a specified person or party) as agent; done or committed by.

a1425 (▸c1385)     G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (1987) iv. 181     I not on yow who that this charge leyde, But, on my part [v.r. for myn part], ye may eftsone hem telle, We usen here no wommen for to selle.

Note: The symbol ► indicates date of composition for this text (as opposed to date of documentary evidence). c indicates circa, and a indicates ante.

The earlier usages of the phrase are in the form of "on someone's part"; and the first citation in OED where the phrase is used as "on the part of someone" is from 1667, from John Milton's Paradise Lost:

Foul distrust, and breach Disloyal on the part of Man,..On the part of Heav'n Now alienated, distance and distaste.

OED also lists an obsolete version of the same phrase, (a) of the part of (also of a person's part), first used in the Wycliffite Bible in a1425.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.