What Does A Chink in The Armor Mean?

A Chink in One’s Armor Meaning

Definition: An aspect of one’s character that is weak or makes that person vulnerable in some way.

The idiom a chink in one’s armor refers to a weakness in one’s character or something that makes one vulnerable. In this sense, it has a similar meaning as Achilles’ Heel.

 
 
 

Origin of A Chink in One’s Armor

Define chink in armor meaning The exact etymology of this idiom is unclear. The word chink has been used to mean a crack or opening since the 15th century. The full idiom, a chink in one’s armor, has been used since the 17th century, although there is little information about its first use in print.

In the modern day, a chink in one’s armor most commonly refers to a character flaw. Someone might say that another person’s inability to meet deadlines is a chink in that person’s armor.

It should be noted that the word chink is sometimes used as a racial slur, particularly in American English. However, chink as it is used in this phrase and its derogatory homonym are entirely unrelated. If one uses the idiom, it is highly unlikely that a native English speaker would accuse the other person of using a racial slur.

Examples of A Chink in One’s Armor

Chink in armorThis phrase may or may not be used in a negative context. No matter the context in which it is used, the phrase retains the same meaning. The following conversation between an employee and his boss illustrates the correct use of this idiom.

Wendell: I’m sorry I’m late again, boss.

Georgina: Your tardiness isn’t the only chink in your armor, Wendell.

More Examples

  • Age will be against him, he agrees, admitting to the first small chink in his armor. – The Washington Post
  • If Ms. Sarney has an obvious chink in her armor, it is her health, which has been delicate in the past. – NY Times

Summary

The English idiom a chink in the armor refers to a part of someone’s character that is weak or makes him or her vulnerable.