the bottom of the barrel

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the bottom of the barrel

The cheapest, worst, or lowest quality. Used to describe an item in a range of comparable products. I know we need to save money, but this bottom-of-the-barrel computer barely even works. Our washing machine broke down after just two months of use, but that's what we get for buying the bottom of the barrel.
See also: barrel, bottom, of

bottom of the barrel

 and bottom of the heap
Fig. the location of persons or things of the very lowest quality; someone or something of the lowest quality. (The fruit at the bottom of a barrel of apples is likely to be bruised from the weight of the other apples.) That last secretary you sent me was really the bottom of the barrel. I don't need any candidates from the bottom of the heap.
See also: barrel, bottom, of

bottom of the barrel

The least desirable, the dregs, as in The nominating committee had trouble finding candidates; they were settling for the bottom of the barrel . The phrase often occurs in scrape the bottom of the barrel, meaning "to use the least desirable elements" (because one has no choice), as in Bringing up that minor legal point proves that you're scraping the bottom of the barrel. This metaphor for the sediment left by wine in a barrel was already used by Cicero to describe the lowest elements of Roman society. [First half of 1900s]
See also: barrel, bottom, of

bottom of the barrel

and bottom of the heap
n. the location of persons or things of the very lowest quality. (see also scrape the bottom of the barrel.) That last secretary you sent me was really from the bottom of the barrel. If you drop out of school, you stay at the bottom of the heap.
See also: barrel, bottom, of