“THE WEAKEST GOES TO THE WALL”

“THE WEAKEST GOES TO THE WALL”

“THE WEAKEST GOES TO THE WALL,” Capulet’s servant Gregory explains in Romeo and Juliet (Act 1, scene 1)-meaning that women (the “weaker vessels,” as another character calls them a few lines later), as well as children and the elderly, were politely allowed to walk on the “inside track” of a sidewalk and to thus avoid getting splattered or jostled by street traffic. The phrase dates to about 1550, and the sentiment dates from about 1500.