This is the short and the long of it
What's the meaning of the phrase 'This is the short and the long of it'?
The short and long of it is the substance; the plain truth. It is used to refer to something which is unambiguous and may be described quite simply - the long version and the short version being the same. For example, "You can debate the 1971 Ali/Frazier fight all you like but the long and short of it is 'Frazier won'".
For some reason, later users of the expression have preferred to use the reverse form - 'the long and short of it'.
What's the origin of the phrase 'This is the short and the long of it'?
From Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1600:
MISTRESS QUICKLY: Marry, this is the short and the long of it; you have brought her into such a canaries as 'tis wonderful. The best courtier of them all, when the court lay at Windsor, could never have brought her to such a canary.