Not My Forte

Contents: Meaning | Origin | Spread

Meaning

What does Not My Forte mean?

Not my forte is a common expression, used for saying that a certain skillset is not one’s strongest ability.

To put it differently, if I’m performing something that is “Not my forte”, a Jedi most certainly won’t say the line The Force is Strong with This One.

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Origin

What's the origin of Not My Forte?

The word forte originates from the French word for strong “fort” still used in English to refer to the strongest portion of a sword’s blade.

It was already present in the English language as a reference to a strong point of a person by the 1680’s, however it was modified to be the imitation of the Italian word with the same meaning “forte” during the 18th century.

“Not my forte” first appeared in print in the book of Gertrude Elliot Espenscheid, published in 1781, under the title “The Masqued Weddings, a Novel in a Series of Letters”.

Spread & Usage

How did Not My Forte spread?

Throughout the subsequent centuries, the phrase “Not my forte” became a widely known and well-liked colloquialism or even a cliché, said in situations where one is in danger of humiliation due to their ineptitude.

It is especially common in relation to music, due to the fact that forte is also a musical term, describing the act of playing an instrument vigorously.

It has also been said by celebrities talking about the skills that they are lacking in, such as Joseph Gordon Levitt, talking about science.

 

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