It is common to hear the phrase “rule of thumb” when someone is discussing rules or regulations. Have you ever wondered about the origin of the phrase? I wish I could say it came from a children’s fable or that a famous person uttered it long ago, but unfortunately the phrase’s beginning is not as pleasant. The saying emerged around the Civil War when it was legal, and socially acceptable, for a husband to beat his wife. The only stipulation was the instrument used could not be thicker than the thumb. Thus the saying “rule of thumb” found it’s way into our everyday language.
“Rule of Thumb”
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- Union Army occupying Courthouse Square in Huntsville, 1864 — Share the History Love... Union Army troops occupying Courthouse Square in Huntsville, following its capture and occupation by federal forces in 1864. The soldiers reportedly tore down the North Alabama College to construct their winter quarters using brick from the college. The Old Northern Bank of Alabama is visible in the left of the photograph. Share [...]
- The Goddess of Liberty on the Texas State Capitol Grounds, 1888 — Share the History Love... The Goddess of Liberty on the Texas State Capitol Grounds prior to installation on top of the rotunda in February 1888. Share the History Love... [...]