Wife Beating. A Rule Of Thumb.

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:


About Roland Louis Hansen

I have been: an organization development consultant; a college-level instructor of political science, psychology, and sociology; a public administrator; a social worker; an elected official; a political operative; a community activist; a union official; a shoe salesman and manager, a factory worker; a fast food restaurant employee; and, a custodian.
This entry was posted in General, Language, Musing, Websites. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wife Beating. A Rule Of Thumb.

  1. Chris says:

    “Women want that last word. Give them the last word. But they’re not happy with the last word. They want to say it again, and get into a provocative situation, then I think it’s absolutely right (to slap them).” – Sean Connery

    I think most men, at least those who have done any sort of woodworking, know that the rule of thumb is a measuring technique. However, it would appear the Sean Connery would be willing to apply the rule of thumb to wife beating (slapping).

    There is always an air about forwarded messages such as this that the forwarder is expelling that smells something like, “here is an interesting fact that I know and I think you should know, too, even though I won’t bother to check whether it is accurate or not.”


  2. Unfortunately, men’s hands (unlike their brains) have grown since the 1400’s. This not only means that using the rule of thumb as a measuring device is perhaps no longer valid.

    It also means that no matter how much we might wish it otherwise, in at least this area, the men of the past no longer measure up.


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