What does " being off the stick" means in following sentence mean?

" Robert: tell me the truth. Chris: How can I say it, in all honesty, without you thinking I'm off the stick?" How do I know it won't incriminate me." Is my guess correct that it is sth on punishment?

  • From the context I am guessing it means insane. But neither Urban Dictionary nor OED glosses this as idiom, and Googling it as idiom seems to lead mainly to expressions of puzzlement as to what it might mean and where it comes from. Jul 11, 2015 at 13:55
  • Never heard of it. Perhaps it's derived from orchestral musicians playing on the [conductor's] stick, in which case one could read it as meaning out of order, irregular, improper. Or a "creative" variant of off one's trolley, off one's rocker. Or perhaps it's actually the translation of an idiomatic usage from another language. Jul 11, 2015 at 15:10
  • Two of three written instances in Google Books for is off his stick clearly show it as a golf-specific term meaning not playing as well as he could. The third one looks like a complete one-off malapropism for off his rocker. Jul 11, 2015 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


Per grammarphobia

Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang says “get on the stick” is derived from the shorter phrase “on the stick” (meaning “efficient, aware, in control”). Cassell’s says the stick in the phrases represents “the gearstick of a car or joystick of an aircraft, both of which exert control.”

Perhaps "off the stick" then is out of it or not in control.

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