"Rule of thumb" (1685)

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Jul 22 23:08:32 UTC 2007

On Sun, 22 Jul 2007, Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote:

> I haven't seen the entry for "rule of thumb" in the _Random House Unabridged
> Dictionary_ (2006), but I understand it may contain an estimate of 1685-1695
> for the origin of the phrase.  If so, is this based in part on Durham's
> work?  Or does this simply reflect speculation that "rule of thumb" existed
> for some time before 1692?

The datings in the Random House dictionaries are speculative.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
   Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press
Yale Law School                             ISBN 0300107986
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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