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Thumbs and the rules that apply to them
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2013/03/17
10:01pm
Ron Draney
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One of this week’s callers asked about the popular urban legend that rule of thumb refers to some ancient statue about the size of the stick with which one may legally beat one’s wife. I trust that the discussion that followed straightened out everybody on that particular derivation.

I’ve taken to using the expression lex pollicis for such heuristic rules. I figure if someone’s got enough Latin to recognize it in that form, they’re educated enough not to be taken in by a spurious tale told by a “friend of a friend”.

2013/03/18
8:00pm
New River, AZ, USA
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Ron Draney said: I figure if someone’s got enough Latin to recognize it in that form, they’re educated enough not to be taken in by a spurious tale told by a “friend of a friend”.

OK, I admit I had to look up “lex pollicis” to get your point. So while I was on Google Translate I checked out “spurious tales from friends of friends” and eventually ended up learning that the English “rumor” is exactly the Latin “rumor.” So I guess “lex rumor” would also work? [never took Latin but slowly hobbling it together]

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