grab the worst end of the stick


Hi everyone!

So it'd be correct to translate "the last ones to cooperate grab the worst end of the stick" con "gli ultimi raccolgono solo le briciole"? Or maybe is not strong enough as the English meaning?
We are talking about criminals who are less likely to cooperate with the FBI/police in order to have a reduced sentence.

Thank you 🙃
  • Nastyusechka

    I know, but that's what the character of the TV serial I'm translating said! Anyway, it'd be correct my translation?

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Maybe it's a recent coinage. I've never come across it and prefer 'the short straw' version.:)This is supposedly how it originated:
    They appear to have slightly different meanings.

    get hold of the wrong end of the stick

    To misunderstand something.

    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 ofthe stick in a number of plays (Misalliance, 1910; Androcles and the Lion, 1912; Saint Joan,1924).

    short end of the stick, to get/have the

    To receive a burden or disadvantage as a result of an unequal or unfair outcome or treatment.

    You have to stay vigilant during business negotiations or else you may end up getting the short end of the stick.
    I think Tom felt like he got the short end of the stick growing up, since his older brother received most of the attention and praise for his athletic skills.

    Short end would fit better.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I've always known just "to get the wrong end of the stick" and "to draw the short straw", with completely different meanings as explained by YLR.

    To be literal-minded, I don't see how a stick can have a long end and a short end.:D


    Senior Member
    Italiano, Italia
    Per tornare alla richiesta di Nastyusechka, a me la sua traduzione piace. Alternativa: "gli ultimi a collaborare rimangono in braghe di tela".