get hold of the wrong end of the stick

(redirected from they get hold of the wrong end of the stick)

get hold of the wrong end of the stick

To misunderstand something. 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.
See also: end, get, hold, of, stick, wrong
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

get the wrong end of the stick

or

get hold of the wrong end of the stick

INFORMAL
If someone gets the wrong end of the stick or gets hold of the wrong end of the stick, they completely misunderstand a situation or something that is said. You got the wrong end of the stick — I invited him to be kind, not because I fancied him! Did I get hold of the wrong end of the stick? Was that not what he meant?
See also: end, get, of, stick, wrong
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

get (hold of) the wrong end of the stick

misunderstand someone or something completely.
See also: end, get, of, stick, wrong
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

get (hold of) the ˌwrong end of the ˈstick

(British English, informal) understand somebody/something in the wrong way: You’ve got the wrong end of the stick. He doesn’t owe me money, I owe him! OPPOSITE: get something right/straight
See also: end, get, of, stick, wrong
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
Full browser ?