The Weakest Link

Meanings of “The Weakest Link”

The phrase “the weakest link” refers to the point of a person in a process that is the most incompetent, the most vulnerable, and the least dependable. The phrase has derived from a proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” implying a single substandard link may damage the chain.

Origin of “The Weakest Link”

The phrase, “the weakest link” is must have originated from Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, published in 1786, where it is stated as; “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 from Literature

Example #1

The Weakest Link by Helgard du Preez

This life as you know it, clinging onto my shoulders,
A burden so heavy, I have to carry,
Little pebbles have grown into boulders,
I miss the times I could depend on daddy

So many I have to question,
who dares to answer them?
swiftly without intervention,
They say time will heal, but when?

i am what I am, what should I be?
My spirit fled and took the road,
My eyes are blinded, can’t you see?
It’s time to lay down on the road, squash me like a toad

Coz I’m looking at my path, where should I go?
Tricksy roads always find my way,
Shaping me like a piece of dough,
Standing at the point of no return, no more to say

All be over in a blink of an eye,
I’m the weakest link, Goodbye.

The poem reflects the problematic life of the speaker. The disheartened speaker is fed up; he calls his life a burden – a burden that is constantly increasing. This dark phase of his life makes him think about the joyous childhood when he was dependent on his parents. Now happiness and glories seem a forgotten tale because life has pushed him toward a path full of thorns. He does not want to believe in the myths fed to him since childhood that time will eventually heal the wounds. Instead of bringing joy, life always brings worries and tensions. He believes that only death can eradicate all these worries. Therefore, the phrase has been shown used in the last line as a metaphor for extreme difficulty.

Example #2

The Weakest Link by Zia Everhart  

 I am the weakest link.
You will never hear me say,
“Nothing’s impossible,”
“I believe I can do it.”
I have chosen failure.
Never will I say again, that
I am useful.
I am just a burden for others
And I refuse to accept that
Success is tangible.
I choose to believe that
Happiness doesn’t exist.
No one has ever said to me that
I’m important, and
It’s true
That shame reigns rampant over me.
Never again will I believe.

The poet, here, calls herself the weakest link because she has made wrong choices that led her to face ultimate failures. Now she feels himself a useless person and a burden to others. Her life has become a center of darkness. Unfortunately, no one is there to support her and make her realize that his presence does matter. Therefore, this shame and heart-wrenching loneliness is pushing her toward negativity. The phrase shows its metaphorical use in the opening lines of the poem.

Example #3

The Weakest Link by T.A. Lean

The book revolves around the Secret government agencies how they use people to make their deceitful plans work by hook or by crook. For this purpose, a young and seemingly insignificant woman is unwittingly placed on a scientific project. As the story continues, the protagonist finds herself in a challenging situation, while every effort made by the agencies to keep their mission a secret exploits her. The writer highlights the working of the powerful agencies how they manipulate others and make them scapegoats when the need arises. Therefore, the phrase is used to signify a person who is easily fooled.

Example #4

The Weakest Link: Why Your Employees Might Be Your Biggest Cyber Risk by Jeremy Swinfen Green

Keeping the importance of cybersecurity in the center, Jeremy Swinfen Green has written this masterpiece to help people understand how information security relies on the people working in an organization. The writer has provided effective solutions to the problems related to information security including a guide on how people may establish a complete and effective culture of security. It is through this advanced approach they make themselves digitally safe at their workplaces as well as in their personal lives.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Since COVID-19 pandemic has derailed the world from its normal path. Therefore, the implementation of strong protective measures is the need of the hour. However, the liability of all protective measures will be determined by the weakest link.”

Example #2: “The newly elected leader raised the issue in a parliament, to him, the weakest link in the communist system is the economic imbalance.”

Example #3: “My father, a great politician, once said that politicians serve as the weakest link in the chain because they change their decisions so easily.”

Example #4: “The strength of any system is precisely dependent on its weakest link.”

Example #5: “Samuel proved to be the weakest link when he should have been the strongest, but now we need to cover up the damage he has done to us.”