the wrong end of the stick

the wrong end of the stick

A misunderstanding, miscommunication, or distortion of the facts. He must have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick about something when I was talking to him earlier, because he has started acting really odd whenever I see him now. The senator found herself at the wrong end of the stick after mistakenly saying during an interview that she would like to see funding for public education cut in half.
See also: end, of, stick, wrong

wrong end of the stick, the

A misunderstanding or distortion, as in We ordered a "full quart" of rice, but the clerk got hold of the wrong end of the stick and sent us "four quarts" instead . This expression refers to a walking stick held upside down, which does not help a walker much. It originated in the 1400s as worse end of the staff and changed to the current wording only in the late 1800s. Also see short end of the stick.
See also: end, of, wrong

wrong end of the stick, (got hold of) the

Mistaken, misunderstood; a distorted version of the facts. This expression, which some believe refers to a walking stick held the wrong way, presumably means that one cannot proceed very far, either literally or figuratively, if one does not hold onto the right end. Another theory is that it alludes to a stick kept in an outhouse, and grabbing the wrong end in the dark meant one got feces on one’s hands. Whatever the precise origin, it began life in the fourteenth century as the worse end of the staff, a wording that survived into the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century the current wording was adopted. Shaw was fond of it, using both wrong and right end of the stick in a number of plays (Misalliance, 1910; Androcles and the Lion, 1912; Saint Joan, 1924). See also short end of the stick.
See also: end, hold, of, wrong
References in periodicals archive ?
Steamy: Nate and Moira Amy is clearly feeling paranoid too and when she sees Nate talking to Tracy she gets the wrong end of the stick and lays into him for betraying her.
Steamy: Nate and Moira Amy is clearly feeling paranoid, too, and, when she sees Nate talking to Tracy, she gets the wrong end of the stick and lays into him for betraying her.
Nate insists that she's got the wrong end of the stick, which is the truth.
IN these uncertain times we can always rely on Doug Shield to firmly grasp the wrong end of the stick.
NEIGHBOURS Channel 5 ONCE again, an Erinsborough resident is about to cause a major problem by getting the wrong end of the stick.
But Michael insists he doesn't want people to "feel sorry" for him, because he doesn't think he got "the wrong end of the stick" by being born differently.
Caitlin has her own idea for a surprise party to celebrate her and Pete's first date, but he gets the wrong end of the stick.
After being at the wrong end of the stick against India when he picked up
Elsewhere, Michael is also playing with fire when he stops Phelan from cheating Freddie out of money at a poker game, and Bethany gets the wrong end of the stick when Gary invites her over for dinner.
But that also makes them a terrible combination - because they keep getting the wrong end of the stick.
It just isn't fair for the ones who work and aren't afraid to work, and obey the laws, and do what we are supposed to do -- only to get the wrong end of the stick.
Francesca gets the wrong end of the stick when Vanessa breaks down and says her wedding is not going to be the day she dreamed of having, and assumes her daughter wanted a bigger ceremony instead.
MPs and Lords are a famously innumerate bunch and, unless the details are hammered home, they will walk away from a briefing with a very firm grip on the wrong end of the stick.
IN his letter (Daily Post, July 29) which refers to mine published on July 24, Trefor Davies has completely the wrong end of the stick - apparently because he does not like the facts of the former CEGB situation.