Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

rule of thumb

rule of thumb

Meaning:

  • a principle that is kept to
  • a guide that is based on practice rather than theory
  • a general principle that comes through experience and not any scientific means
  • a practical and approximate way

Example:

  1. As a rule of thumb, I do not start a new project on Fridays.
  2. A good rule of thumb is to add the ingredients when the water starts to boil.
  3. During our boot camp in the jungle, we used to drink a glass of water every two hours as a rule of thumb.
  4. Going by the rule of thumb, it would take two hours to compile the data in each of these files.
  5. As a rule of thumb, we never went camping near water bodies during the rains.
  6. A useful rule of thumb in serving food is that two handfuls make a portion.

Origin:
This phrase has been used since the 1600s and the origin is usually attributed to domestic violence, however, there is no proof of the theory. There was a belief that a law in England allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick which was not thicker than his thumb. However, it has been found that such a law did not exist. Also, the phrase has been in used before this law was believed to have existed. The real origin of the phrase, therefore, is not known.

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