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The meaning and origin of the expression: The Devil take the hindmost

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The Devil take the hindmost

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'The Devil take the hindmost'?

A proverbial phrase indicating that those who lag behind will receive no aid.

What's the origin of the phrase 'The Devil take the hindmost'?

The devil take the hindmostThe line was first recorded in print in Beaumont and Fletcher's tragic/comic play Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding, 1611:

"They run all away, and cry, 'the devil take the hindmost'."

The expression may have known colloquially prior to 1611. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations lists "Every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost" as an 'early 16th century' proverb, although they provide no evidence to support that assertion

A more modern usage of the same idea is that "when a group of people are being chased by a bear, you don't need to be faster than the bear, you need to be faster than the slowest person in the group".

See also: the List of Proverbs.