phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by TheUnlurker on March 15, 2002

In Reply to: Wedges posted by TheFallen on March 14, 2002

: : : Where does the phrase:

: : : "THE WRONG END OF THE STICK" emanate from????

: : Probably from another phrase, "the short end of the stick," which historically had something to do with being shafted, as it were. Also see link below.

: ... and the thin end of the wedge? What's that all about?

It's a simple metaphor.

Wood and stone were (are) split by driving wedges into small fissures; once the "thin end" had been driven in all the hard work had been done. Tapping the "fat end" forced the medium apart further and further until it eventually split.

As for "the wrong end of the stick"...
If you've used a stick as a walking aid then the muddy end is the wrong end,
If you've used a stick to poke around in a fire then the hot end is the wrong end,
If you've used a stick to stir some medium (paint, say) then the gunged end is the wrong end,

I am reminded:
What do you call a boomerang that doesn't come back?
A stick.
What's brown and sticky?
A stick

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