Last night, with 5 or 6 seconds left in my part of the broadcast, I mentioned a viewer’s email – Could it snow at 50°? I sad, “no,” the rule of thumb was there was no snow at temperatures above 45°.
It wasn’t long before this came.
Geoff just caught your forecast, loved it!
Also I wanted to make a mention that you used a phrase that I have been
trying to get rid of for years. The phrase is “rule of thumb”. This phrase
used the measurement of the thumb for a very heinous use. In 1732 Francis
Butler, an English judge, declared that a ” man could beat his wife with a
stick no bigger then his thumb” Thus, the rule of thumb. Please avoid the
term and pass this along to others. Thanks. all the best Lori
Uh… OK. I don’t want to offend. Except… it’s not true.
There are lots of citations online (here’s one from England). Some of them are cruel in their attempt to debunk a an outspoken feminist and lesbian, Del Martin, who published this ‘fact’ in print.
That being said, it looks to me as if “rule of thumb” was never a reference to any English law¹.
So, what to do? If I use the expression, I risk offending people – though only the misinformed. It is truly political correctness for the sake of political correctness.
I’m stumped. This should be such an easy decision, but it’s not.
¹ – It also seems there was never any law, thumb sized or not, that allowed a husband to beat his wife.