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The long and the short of it.

Posted by ESC on October 30, 2005

In Reply to: The long and the short of it. posted by Lisi on October 30, 2005

: The long and the short of it. Please I would like to know the origin (before Shakespeare?) and the meaning.

From the archives:

Long and the Short of it, The In sum; the heart of the matter. If you have told it "long" and told it "short," you have surely told it all. Sometimes it was reversed: "the short and yhe long of it." Robert Manning of Brunne wrote in his _Langtorft's Chronicle_ : "To say longly or schorte, alle [that] arms bare."
From The Dictionary of Cliches_ by James Rogers

long and short of it, the
The substance or gist of something, as in _The first page of this report will give you the long and short of it_. This expression, originally stated as _the short and long of it_, dates from about 1500, the present order being established by the end of the 1600s.
From _The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms_ by Christine Ammer