the sharp end

the sharp end

The most challenging or difficult part of an activity. This repair is pretty simple until we get to the sharp end—replacing the battery. The sharp end of this merger will be negotiating the payouts to the executives.
See also: end, sharp

the sharp end

mainly BRITISH
COMMON The sharp end of an activity or type of work is the part where the most difficulties or the hardest work are experienced. Crime prevention is now the sharp end of policing. Still only 28, Smith has been at the sharp end of activism for almost a decade. Note: In sailors' slang, the bow or front end of a ship is known as `the sharp end'.
See also: end, sharp

the sharp end

1 the most important or influential part of an activity or process. 2 the side of a system or activity which is the most unpleasant or suffers the chief impact. 3 the bow of a ship. British humorous
See also: end, sharp

the ˈsharp end (of something)

(British English, informal) the job or activity of greatest difficulty or responsibility: He started work at the sharp end of business, as a salesman.As head of the school, I’m at the sharp end if there are complaints.
See also: end, sharp
References in classic literature ?
But if the shield was touched with the sharp end of the lance, the combat was understood to be at outrance, that is, the knights were to fight with sharp weapons, as in actual battle.
The champion, moving onward amid these well-meant hints, ascended the platform by the sloping alley which led to it from the lists, and, to the astonishment of all present, riding straight up to the central pavilion, struck with the sharp end of his spear the shield of Brian de Bois-Guilbert until it rung again.
Dantes struck with the sharp end of his pickaxe, which entered someway between the interstices.
Dantes inserted the sharp end of the pickaxe between the coffer and the lid, and pressing with all his force on the handle, burst open the fastenings.
About four hours after we began our journey, I awaked by a very ridiculous accident; for the carriage being stopped a while, to adjust something that was out of order, two or three of the young natives had the curiosity to see how I looked when I was asleep; they climbed up into the engine, and advancing very softly to my face, one of them, an officer in the guards, put the sharp end of his half-pike a good way up into my left nostril, which tickled my nose like a straw, and made me sneeze violently; whereupon they stole off unperceived, and it was three weeks before I knew the cause of my waking so suddenly.
Here the short stakes were set at intervals of about a foot around the walls near the top, their sharpened points inclining downward so that the lion had fallen unhurt into the trap but could not leap out because each time he essayed it his head came in contact with the sharp end of a stake above him.
We drove the sharp end of the beam into the monster's eye, and bearing upon it with all my weight I kept turning it round and round as though I were boring a hole in a ship's plank with an auger, which two men with a wheel and strap can keep on turning as long as they choose.
We took that tin out on the bank, and Harris went up into a field and got a big sharp stone, and I went back into the boat and brought out the mast, and George held the tin and Harris held the sharp end of his stone against the top of it, and I took the mast and poised it high up in the air, and gathered up all my strength and brought it down.
The hypocrisy of politics, where our self-servers in the council house make sure their salaries and pensions are very generous, the workers at the sharp end are looking at a very bleak future.
Tom Oliphant was once again at the sharp end of the Porsche Carrera Cup UK qualifying session and also in the two races held over the weekend.
Getting across the message of looking after the planet is something the BBC should always be concerned with and gardening is the sharp end of that.
Swansea take a breather from their league battle with an FA Cup trip to Oxford on Sunday, but Curtis readily accepts that he has had to get used to the sharp end of management.
It's another thing altogether to be at the sharp end.
The Scottish Government have to re-think this approach and remember who actually helps those at the sharp end.
And this is no reflection whatsoever on the guys at the sharp end who are out in hazardous conditions while the rest of us are safely tucked up in bed.