the long and (the) short of the matter

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the long and (the) short of the matter

The main idea or facts of something. That's the long and the short of the matter. If you want more details, you'll have to ask Laura. The long and short of the matter is that Kyle is quitting, so we need to fill his position fast.
See also: and, long, matter, of, short
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

long and the short of it/the matter, the

The essence of the matter; in a nutshell. This expression, sometimes reversed (that is, the short and the long of something), dates from the fourteenth century. Shakespeare preferred the reversed form (Henry V, 3.2; The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2.1), but by the end of the seventeenth century long nearly always preceded short.
See also: and, long, of, short
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer