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I’m getting the shaft end of the stick

During a game of spades, the speaker uttered this gem in response to receiving a bad hand.  This is a mash up of “getting the shaft” (to be cheated or mistreated) and “the short end of the stick” (receiving the smaller or less desirable part).  I particularly like this one, as short and shaft have the same number of letters and begin with sh.  Also, a shaft is also part of a stick, such as hockey sticks.  Perhaps this is a hockey expression (or should be?)?  I say the speaker should have two minutes in the penalty box.  A tip of the toque to Adam Jacob for hearing this one and sending it in!

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2 Comments on “I’m getting the shaft end of the stick”

  1. Linda Bernstein says:

    Hi Dave, I think this is more of a malaphor than you mentioned. What is the short end of the stick anyway? I’m not familiar with that as an expression. Shouldn’t it have been “the short straw,” as in drawing straws to pick a winner?
    Your friend in Philly,
    Linda Bernstein

    • davemalaphor says:

      Given the context, Linda, I think short end of the stick is what the speaker was thinking of saying. Here is the meaning of the expression:

      short end of the stick, the
      The inferior part, the worse side of an unequal deal. For example, Helen got the short end of the stick when she was assigned another week of night duty. The precise analogy in this term, first recorded in the 1930s, has been lost. Some believe it comes from worse end of the staff, used since the early 1500s, which in the mid-1800s became, in some instances, short or shitty end of the stick, allegedly from a stick poked up one’s rectum by another in command of the situation. Others believe it alludes to fighting with sticks, where having a shorter stick is a disadvantage. Also see wrong end of the stick.
      See also: end, of, shor


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