wrong end of the stick, the
A misunderstanding or distortion, as in We ordered a “full quart” of rice, but the clerk got hold of the wrong end of the stick and sent us “four quarts” instead. This expression refers to a walking stick held upside down, which does not help a walker much. It originated in the 1400s as worse end of the staff and changed to the current wording only in the late 1800s. Also see short end of the stick.
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Example sentences from the Web for wrong end of the stick, the
Added to drinking water at concentrations of around one part per million, fluoride ions stick to dental plaque.
Yet this, in the end, is a book from which one emerges sad, gloomy, disenchanted, at least if we agree to take it seriously.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President|Pierre Assouline|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
France 24 is providing live, round-the-clock coverage of both scenes as they progress.
In the end, the clarity that comes from moments of horror can help us recommit to deeper principles.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too|John Avlon|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
In the end, I find it never fails to modernize even the most dramatic things.‘Empire’ Review: Hip-Hop Musical Chairs with an Insane Soap Opera Twist|Judnick Mayard|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
I presume the twenty-five or thirty miles at this end is unhealthy, even for natives, but it surely need not be so.Glances at Europe|Horace Greeley
On to Gaba Tepe just in time to see the opening, the climax and the end of the dreaded Turkish counter attack.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I|Ian Hamilton
Sleek finds it far harder work than fortune-making; but he pursues his Will-o'-the-Wisp with untiring energy.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
He wanted to tell her that if she called her father, it would mean the end of everything for them, but he withheld this.The Homesteader|Oscar Micheaux
Under the internal pressure his whiskers stood on end and his face grew red.The Bondboy|George W. (George Washington) Ogden