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Fit with a shaft

Posted by ESC on October 26, 2003

In Reply to: Fit with a shaft posted by ESC on October 26, 2003

: : : Recently heard this being used in a speech and my wife and I disagreed as to whether this was an offensive term or not. It's was used as an equivalent to "getting the short end of the stick." For some reason I felt it was more of a prison slang term with sexual connotations. Any ideas?

: : "Short end of the stick" has the same connotations for those aware of its origin, so if one term is offensive in a given context, then both are.

: Merriam-Webster says:

: Main Entry: 2shaft
: Function: transitive verb
: Date: 1611
: 1 : to fit with a shaft
: 2 : to treat unfairly or harshly

: So, what does "fit with a shaft" mean?

"The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology" by Robert K. Barnhart (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1995) says a shaft is a "long slender rod of a staff or spear."