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. What's the origin of the phrase 'Rule of thumb'? 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. "Rule of thumb" is a rude reference to an old law permitting men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than a thumb, right? Wrong! 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.
Origin(s) of "Rule of Thumb" Queries about the phrase "rule of thumb" have appeared repeatedly on WMST-L. What follows are some of the responses people have sent to the list over the years. They have been put together in this file to make it easy to find this information without sending yet more queries (and responses) to WMST-L. Rule of Thumb is an undocumented, implied rule to abide.. One possible origin, or at least implementation, is found in the 117th New Constitution of Roman Emperor Justinian I, published in 529 C.E., granting a husband freedom to "beat his wife with a whip or rod" for divorcable offenses. The "rule of thumb" was possibly conjured to suppress nefarious abuse of the law.
Sep 23, 2014 · The most commonly accepted explanation is that it comes from the practice of using a thumb as a crude measuring device. The average man's thumb is about 1 inch long from the tip to the first knuckle, and in many non-English languages the same word. Oct 23, 2014 · The thumb is used slashing across the throat to mean either “I’ll kill you” or “let’s finish this” and so forth. Likely, it had a similar meaning back in the roman days. It’s possible the thumb held horizontally meant “death”, in fact, “pollice verso” can mean both down thumb or side thumb. At least that’s my understanding.
The phrase, "rule of thumb" refers to a rule or guideline that is usually though not always correct, it lacks strict precision. Its origin is very simple; it is based on the use of one's thumb as a measuring tool that, of course, can only give approximate measurements. one of the most commonly misconstrued sayings, an example used in Boondock Saints "a man is allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb." A claim made by a satirical caricaturist by the name of James Gillray against a judge. 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.