Chink in one’s armor is an idiom that is hundreds of years old An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom chink in one’s armor, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.
A chink in one’s armor is a slight weakness or a place where one is vulnerable. This weakness or vulnerability may lead to that person’s downfall; it is a place where an opponent may do some damage that may prove to unravel the person. The image is of a knight who is outfitted in medieval armor from head to toe, with a slight imperfection in that armor where a sword or lance may find its victim. The expression a chink in one’s armor came into use in the 1700s, when full body armor was passing out of popularity. An idiom with a similar meaning is Achilles’ heel.
“For nine months, I’ve not seen a chink in his armor,” Ivy said. (Ball State Daily News)
“I’d do anything I can to put a little chink in his armor,” he said. (The Austin American Statesman)
I couldn’t refuse fried chicken livers even if they were prepared in the back of my auto mechanic’s shop, which unarguably proves a chink in my armor of self-control. (The Courier Journal)