rule of thumb

Rate this phrase:(3.33 / 3 votes)
A general guideline, rather than a strict rule; an approximate measure or means of reckoning based on experience or common knowledge.

Etymology:

  • Attested since the late 1600s. Of uncertain origin. One theory notes that the inch originated as the distance between the base of the thumbnail and the first joint, another notes the practice of approximating the general direction of the wind by wetting the thumb then raising it in the air. Another theory notes that English royal banquet plate setters used the distance of their thumbs to equally space each plate from the table edge.
  • The erroneous claim that the term referred to the maximum thickness of a stick with which it was permissible for a man to beat his wife has appeared in the Washington Post and Time; it may originate from Del Martin's 1976 book Battered Wives.
92 Views

The usual rule of thumb says that to calculate when an investment will double, divide 70 by the interest rate.

Submitted on September 01, 2009

Translation

Find a translation for the rule of thumb phrase in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Nearby phrases

Some more phrases from our dictionary similar to rule of thumb

How to pronounce this phrase?

  1. Alex
    Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Veena
    Indian

Discuss this rule of thumb phrase with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this rule of thumb definition to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"rule of thumb." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 8 Aug. 2020. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/rule-of-thumb_6525>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest human-edited phrases collection on the web!

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.