Initially, it denoted a weak point
of a sword blade; now it denotes a weak point of character; what word is
Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.
The critically-acclaimed board game
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
The first OED citation of foible in
the sense "the sword blade's weak point" is from 1648; its first use in
reference to weak character is from 1673.
Note that in French the word faible means "weak"; thus, le
maillon faible, the weakest link.
I think I see a web of metaphors
developing here. Were you reading a book about medieval armour or what? I
suspect "maillon" is the origin for our "mail" (as in "suit of
The only book I read is the Concise Oxford Dictionary.]
jacko at lycos.com
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