Short End Of The Stick


What does Short End Of The Stick mean?

Short end of the stick is a proverbial expression that is used when somebody is unfavored or treated poorly based on a decision that is made without them.

If you are overlooked in a decision, or not included properly, you receive the short end of the stick.


What's the origin of Short End Of The Stick?

The term’s exact origin is currently unknown. However, language experts have come up with various theories over the years.

Most of these theories apparently agree on one point: short end of the stick probably originates from the Middle Ages.

One theory suggests that the term stemmed from the usage of an item called “Gompf Stick”, which was used as the predecessor of toilet paper. Another idea says that the expression came to existence as  a derivative of the saying “getting the short end of the staff”, which was a physical punishment applied by novelty on servants.

Spread & Usage

How did Short End Of The Stick spread?

In 2008, user ssnickerer described the term on the site Urban Dictionary as the following: “to get the short end of the stick is to suffer the bad effects of a situation.

A Hong Kong TV drama & comedy series was released in 2016 that received the translated title Short End Of The Stick.

External resources

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