short end of the stick
the short end of the stick
An unequal outcome of a deal that results in a disadvantage or burden. You have to stay calm during business negotiations or else you may end up getting the short end of the stick. I feel like I got the short end of the stick on this project, with the amount of extra time and effort I'll have to put into it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
*short end of the stick
Fig. the smaller or less desirable part, rank, task, or amount. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~; end up with ~.) Why do I always get the short end of the stick? I want my fair share! She's unhappy because she has the short end of the stick again.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
short end of the stick, to get/have the
To lose out; to get less than one is entitled to. Exactly what kind of stick is being referred to is no longer known, but possibly it is one used in fighting or in a tug-of-war, in which the person holding the longer end has the advantage. “He having gotten (as we say) the better end of the staffs, did wrest our wills at his pleasure,” wrote Thomas Jackson in 1626 (Commentaries upon the Apostles Creed). Around the turn of the twentieth century in America, “the short end” of anything came to mean the inferior part, and soon this was combined with “stick” to yield the current cliché. See also wrong end of the stick.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer