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.
Critique: A inherently fascinating life story that is at once instructional and inspirational, "The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story" is especially recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.
(Channel 4, 10pm) If you've ever wondered what it's like to work at the sharp end in the emergency services, this series lifts the lid.
Mistakes were out of the question and his judgement of pace phenomenal, as well as strength at the sharp end.
Emily Dean, of Shelter, said: "We've seen a rise in calls from the sharp end of the housing crisis.
The pairing were fighting at the sharp end on both gravel and asphalt and were part of an intense six-way battle for the win going into the final day of competition.
LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS While concerns persist at the sharp end of the pitch, City's defence looks in pretty good shape considering what they were up against on Wednesday night.
You can't annihilate the past so you might as well celebrate it - Elizabeth Hurley It is our members dealing with the anger at the sharp end, not the well-paid top brass from Arriva and Govia who are responsible for this Meltdown Monday on our railways - Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT Union on the new rail timetable problem.
But Warrington council chief executive Steven Broomhead, who chairs the town's health and wellbeing board, said: "While I welcome any additional resources to help care for the frail and elderly of Warrington, I am surprised that there seems to have been an absence of consultation with those at the sharp end, providing the care.