‘The short end of the stick’ is by far the most commonly used form of the phrase. That is rather odd, in that the ends of sticks can be dirty or pointy, they can even be iridescent or hirsute, but it is difficult to see how they can be short. This has spawned the suggestion that ‘short’ is simply a euphemism for ‘shit’ – after all sticks can be shitty and that form of the phrase is also commonplace.

That is seriously fantastic. Thank you Internets!