Origin: This phrase has been used since the s and the origin is usually attributed to domestic violence, however, there is no proof of the theory. There was a belief that a law in England allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick which was not thicker than his thumb. However, it has been found that such a law did not exist.
Use rule of thumb in a sentence. The traditional rule of thumb when showing up to a party at someone's house is to bring a small gift. An example of a rule of thumb is the general guideline that you don't wear white after Labor Day.
It's one of the myths of women's history. Well, except that it may still be rude to use a phrase that you know will upset people. It may also be rude to assume that people who use the phrase are being rude.
He understood the principles of piano construction, and was, therefore, no rule-of-thumb man. Rule-of-thumb can never again overcome the rules of averages, of percentages or of economic laws. All the power of his intelligence, all the rule-of-thumb derived from his practice, is devoted to this alone.
The English phrase rule of thumb refers to a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It refers to an easily learned and easily applied procedure or standard, based on practical experience rather than theory. This usage of the phrase can be traced back to the seventeenth century and has been associated with various trades where quantities were measured by comparison to the width or length of a thumb.
Attested since the late s. One theory notes that the inch originated as the distance between the base of the thumbnail and the first jointanother notes the practice of approximating the general direction of the wind by wetting the thumb then raising it in the air. Another theory notes that English royal banquet plate setters used the distance of their thumbs to equally space each plate from the table edge.
I have heard it was a common law rule about the thickness of a switch with which no punishment would occur for spousal abuse. I have also heard that this is not correct. I cannot find a definitive source and meaning.
Copyright,Jennifer J. Freyd, jjf dynamic. It may be circulated in electronic version so long as this copyright and use statement is included and the essay is not modified in any way.
I remember reading it had something to do with being permitted to beat your wife with a rod no thicker than your thumb. Is this correct? A This sounds like the invention of somebody desperately trying to make sense of a traditional phrase — what linguists call folk etymology.