Origin of phrase rule of thumb

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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.

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See more words from the same year. Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rule of thumb. What made you want to look up rule of thumb?

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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.

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A rule of thumb is a means of estimation made according to a rough and ready practical rule, not based on science or exact measurement. The 'rule of thumb' has been said to derive from the belief that English law allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. InJudge Sir Francis Buller is reported as having made this legal ruling and in the following year James Gillray published a satirical cartoon attacking Buller and caricaturing him as 'Judge Thumb'.

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Top definition. The first and original use of the saying is as simple as the words. The thumb was used as a readily available tool of measuring.

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. It only takes a minute to sign up. Where does the phrase rule of thumb originate from?

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Grammar, etymology, usage, and more, brought to you by Patricia T. People working with victims of such abuse frequently use that explanation in building awareness of a HUGE social and moral problem. Instead of debunking this so casually, it would have been helpful if you had taken just a moment to explain what you meant.

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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. Isn't etiquette wonderful?

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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.

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