a chain is only as strong as its weakest link
First appeared in Thomas Reid’s “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man,” published in 1786; the full idiom “a chain is no stronger than its weakest link” was first printed in Cornhill Magazine in 1868.
Akin to the Basque proverb “Haria meheenean eten ohi da”, “A thread usually breaks where it is thinnest”.
- An organization is only as strong or powerful as its weakest person. A group of associates is only as strong as its laziest member.