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Author Topic: "Rule of Thumb"
Loacharr
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Okay, gang, I've got a problem. By the way, Hi, I know I've been gone for a while, but that's another story...
Problem is one of my professors recently informed us that we shouldn't use the phrase, "Rule of Thumb" because of the old law that states a man can beat his wife with a stick that is no thicker than his thumb or somesuch tale. To me this smacks of a UL, but I've searched all over the main site, and through the MB and only found one casual reference to this phrase. But I could swear I've read this one debunked at some point in snopes history.
Am I losing my mind? Someone help me out here, I'm really getting bothered by this.

Loaky,

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LizzyJingleBells
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Well I found this site that says it's false. There's also this one that gives an "interesting" explaination as to why it's false. And there's this one too.

Hope that helps!

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If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice. - Meister Eckhart My Blog

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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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From searching the message board (not the site itself)

Turns up numerous times

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"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


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Cecil covered it as well.

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Come on, come on - and the world's a little brighter


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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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The 'Bible' of phrase origins (Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable) gives the explanation of the distance to the first joint of the thumb being almost exactly an inch. This was referred to in one of the links above, and as Brewer is pretty reliable I will go along with his theory.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Loacharr
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Thanks for the info, I knew it sounded fishy. And I don't know what I did wrong, but I did search the main site and the message board and only found one obscure reference ages ago. I did my homework before I posted, I guess just not well enough. Thanks anyway.

Loaky,

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Dr. Van Thorp
Deck the Malls


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The wife beating story is complete bunk, but is very popular with a certain type of person that you find in accademic settings.
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Green Kangaroo
The First USA Noel


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Umm... can you please explain what you mean by this:

quote:
but is very popular with a certain type of person that you find in accademic settings


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Dr. Van Thorp
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Green Kangaroo:
Umm... can you please explain what you mean by this:

quote:
but is very popular with a certain type of person that you find in accademic settings

Mostly weird feminist types typically found in university towns.

The first time I heard the "rule of thumb" story, it was mentioned in a column in a newspaper called "Agenda", a left-wing monthly, distributed for free around Ann Arbor, Michigan, published by a group of political activists loosely tied to the University of Michigan.

I have also seen it mentioned in other publications connected to what I would describe as the accademic left.

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