The Encyclopedia Diabolica: Rule Of Thumb

Did you know that the phrase “Rule Of Thumb” was derived from an archaic English law that stated you could not beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb?

15 Responses to The Encyclopedia Diabolica: Rule Of Thumb

  1. I never understood the logic of beating the person who prepares your food… I’ve heard about this old law; I’m so happy I wasn’t around back then.

  2. MindlessZombie

    Yes, I did (believe it or not)! And everytime someone says that I always wonder if they know the true meaning.

  3. I did, actually. It somehow came up alongside a discussion on the phrases Shakespeare brought into the English language.

    But, seriously, there isn’t really much that’s thinner than your thumb that makes a viable weapon. Even the handles of most whips are as wide as, or wider, than your thumb.

  4. BekkyS.

    Wow, that sounds convenient, unless of course heshe was using a pencil or pen or a thumb.

  5. Karen R.

    that doesnt leave much to use as a weapon, but thats probably a good thing. but why a thumb?

  6. Known that for a while. :)

    And it might not make the best weapon for killing someone, but something that slender sure as shit hurts! Ask your parents if your grandparents ever made them go pick their own switch off a tree.

  7. Ville Ojala

    I’ve known this, it’s in a book also.

  8. Elizabeth

    Yes, and did you know that “a frog in you’re throat” isnt from the sound people make when they are sick, Its a medieval medical practice in which people with a sore throat would put a live from in their mouth and it was beleived when the frog inhaled it would suck the infection out of you…

  9. Me

    Yes, I have seen Boondock Saints

  10. Emery

    I learned that from Boondock Saints, too. Favorite movie!

  11. Moz

    @Karen Many archaic units of measurement were roughly determined by things such as thumbs, forearms, feet, etc. simply because they were always on hand…

  12. kau

    weird…. killer fingers are very painful auhauhUHAUHAUHa

  13. Faust

    “Can’t do much damage with that then can we, perhaps it should have been the rule of wrist” Boondock Saints rule

  14. mandieville666

    i did know that indeed. so much for my ruler.

  15. darkoutcast666

    Not so much. All references to the archaic law are made by judges and such who spoke about the barbarism of such a law. However, there is not one case of such a law being present in England. It is best guessed that the “rule of thumb” was a measurement, not a wife-beating guideline and that any mention of beating implements was simply a political maneuver.

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