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rule of thumb

rule of thumb

Date: May 17 2007


1. Quote - Listen to the quote and guess what the slang means.

“Anything I do…is going to be funky. That’s a rule of thumb.”

- Justin Timberlake, pop singer, on experimentation with his sound. (mtv.com)


1. Definition - Study the definition.

good idea to use; rough guideline

2. Use - Learn how the slang is used.

A rule of thumb is an easily understood general rule. Rules of thumb are not completely reliable, but they are easy to use in a pinch. The expression comes from the fact that the distance from the end of your thumb to the first joint is about an inch. You can use your thumb to measure things. It won’t be entirely accurate, but it’s often good enough.

In the past year, Justin Timberlake has experimented with a more rock sound. But whatever he plays, his music will always have elements of funk. Some songs will be funkier than others, but, as a rule of thumb Timberlake’s music will always be funky.


1. Examples - Hear some example sentences.

“As a rule of thumb, I always bring an umbrella when it’s cloudy. You never know, it might rain.”

“It’s a good rule of thumb never to trust anyone with your passwords.”

“It’s good to arrive late to parties and early to job interviews. That’s my rule of thumb.”


1. Winners - See who guessed the slang definition correctly.

plutomars A useful principle having wide application but not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable in every situation.
by plutomars
main principle
by Sweetie1801
quickly understood
by periwinkle.chic
Belizza Rule of thumb is like a basical rule (not always correct)
by Belizza
A general rule
by Carolx
edv it's a rough method of calculation, based on practical experience
by edv
Rule of thumb is an estimate, a commonly accepted measurement.
by peacockblue
I think that rule of thumb is a not written standard rule, something you can usually do in the same way.
by BigDad
Liton Not governed by any theory but based on practice or experience.
by Liton
First rule, Basic rule
by yeehan9810

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Log in to Comment

kourosh esfandiar

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

as a rule of thumb, i heard a lot that in linguistics book

08:32 PM May 03 2008 |



I am not very clear about it .

06:49 AM Mar 06 2008 |


Viet Nam

True, in many tense situations we have to use “a rule of thumb” which is made from self-experience to solve problem quickly.

06:01 AM Jan 21 2008 |




No wonder most people on impulse deal with things by rule of thumb that is instinctive natural

07:57 AM Nov 24 2007 |



any rough-and-ready method of estimating. It’s believed to have originated with woodworkers, who made measurements with their thumbs.

08:14 AM Sep 27 2007 |

max's girlfriend

United States

I have always been told that the phrase “rule of thumb” came from an old law that said a man could beat his wife, but only if he used a stick thinner than his thumb! It turns out that was all a lie! I guess a good rule of thumb would be to always double check your information!

05:57 PM May 17 2007 |

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