bottom of the barrel, scrape the

scrape the bottom of the barrel

To use or select from the last or worst of the resources or options from a particular range or set, even if they are not satisfactory, because there are no others to choose from. We used to get hundreds of qualified candidates, but lately I feel like we've been scraping the bottom of the barrel with the applicants we bring in. A: "These were the best you could get?" B: "Sorry, the selection was already picked through, so I really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel even to find those."
See also: barrel, bottom, of, scrape

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

scrape the bottom of the barrel

to select from among the worst; to choose from what is left over. You've bought a bad-looking car. You really scraped the bottom of the barrel to get that one. The worker you sent over was the worst I've ever seen. Send me anotherand don't scrape the bottom of the barrel.
See also: barrel, bottom, of, scrape

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

scrape the bottom of the barrel

tv. to utilize the last or only things or people available, even if unsatisfactory. (see also bottom of the barrel.) They were really scraping the bottom of the barrel when they picked you.
See also: barrel, bottom, of, scrape

bottom of the barrel, scrape the

Obtain the last dregs, the least desirable remains. The sediment of wine was likened to the lowest, most despicable elements of society nearly two thousand years ago by Cicero. The metaphor remains current.
See also: bottom, of, scrape