• I usually hear the term "....short end of the stick" Two theories: Candles were expensive to make, so often reeds were dipped in tallow and burned instead. When visitors came, it was the custom for guests to make their exit by the time the lights went out. Therefore, if your host didn't want you to stay very long, he would give you a "short stick." OR In the days of outhouses, often there were outhouses with multiple "holes" so that more than one person could relieve him(her)self at a time. Before the time of toilet paper, Sears catalogs and corn cobs, a stick shaped like a shoe horn was used for "hygienic cleaning." It was rather a short spatula device with a longer handle. Well, if one person was done, he could request that the person using the adjoining hole pass the stick. Of course the person with the stick would pass it holding onto the other person by holding the long end of the stick. The recipient would therefore receive it holding the "short end of the stick." Reference Link:
  • The term 'the wrong end of the stick' is not the same as 'the short end of the stick'. The 'wrong end of the stick' basically means that you have misunderstood something. The 'short end of the stick' refers to being shortchanged. My favourite reference for this type of thing, "Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable", does not list an origin for the term.

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