Recently, I was the recipient of a mass forwarded e-mail that was entitled “Interesting facts.”
That e-mail had many alleged facts in it, the following of which was one:
In the 1400’s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have “the rule of thumb”
Now, I ask you, is that “interesting fact” true or false?
Here are some web pages for you to read up about that one:
- From The Straight Dope –
Does “rule of thumb” refer to an old law permitting wife beating?
- From The Phrase Finder –
Rule of thumb
- From About.com, Desktop Publishing –
Rule of Thumb
- From WikiAnswers.com –
In the 1400’s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb Hence we have the rule of thumb? Answer: