Rule of thumb…its about an inch

Rule of thumb -its about an inch

It is often incorrectly stated that the “rule of thumb” expression dates back to a time in history when a man was allowed by law to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. As far as can be determined the expression dates back to the 1600’s when, during a construction project, accurate measurement tools were not as readily available a handy body part would be used. In this case the thumb was used as a rule of measure. Looking at a male adult’s thumb from the top it measures about an inch across just below the fingernail. This was a convenient way to quickly get a rough measure of something. Just as King Henry I of England based the “foot” measurement on his own foot, thumbs were used as “handy” measurement tools.

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