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Dark meaning behind popular phrases


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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:46 PM

Research has revealed the sinister history of common sayings such as "paying through the nose", "rule of thumb" and "pulling someone's leg".

http://www.telegraph...ar-phrases.html

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#2    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:51 PM

cool ive been wanting to read something like this for a while

happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light

#3    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:54 PM

deadline go figure

happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light

#4    Kowalski

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:54 PM

Quote


Today, applying a "rule of thumb" suggests a practical approach to problem solving, but it was actually a violent way to settle marital disputes.

A judge, Sir Francis Buller, ruled that "a man was entitled to beat his wife with a stick provided it was no thicker than his thumb", the Glasgow Herald stated in 1886


Every time I hear that, I think of the Boondock Saints...LOL :)

Edited by Kowalski, 09 August 2013 - 03:54 PM.


#5    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:06 PM

View PostKowalski, on 09 August 2013 - 03:54 PM, said:

Every time I hear that, I think of the Boondock Saints...LOL :)[/size]
yeah me to lol! such a funny scene, that was a big braud though id be scared

i tell my wife as a joke ofcourse, whens he talks back to me i tell her i would get a time machine and go back to the 10's or 20's and see if she would talk that that there lol all in jokes ofcourse

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#6    Elfin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:15 PM

Rule of thumb has nothing to do with wife beating or sticks, and is exactly what it sounds like, an approximate form of measurement.

http://www.phrases.o...e-of-thumb.html

Quote

Meaning

A means of estimation made according to a rough and ready practical rule, not based on science or exact measurement.

Origin

Rule of thumbThe 'rule of thumb' has been said to derive from the belief that English law allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. In 1782, Judge Sir Francis Buller is reported as having made this legal ruling and in the following year James Gillray published a satirical cartoon attacking Buller and caricaturing him as 'Judge Thumb'. The cartoon shows a man beating a fleeing woman and Buller carrying two bundles of sticks. The caption reads "thumbsticks - for family correction: warranted lawful!"

It seems that Buller was hard done by. He was notoriously harsh in his punishments and had a reputation for arrogance, but there's no evidence that he ever made the ruling that he is infamous for. Edward Foss, in his authoritative work The Judges of England, 1870, wrote that, despite a searching investigation, "no substantial evidence has been found that he ever expressed so ungallant an opinion".

It's certainly the case that, although British common law once held that it was legal for a man to chastise his wife in moderation (whatever that meant), the 'rule of thumb' has never been the law in England.

Even if people mistakenly supposed the law to exist, there's no reason to believe that anyone ever called it the 'rule of thumb'. Despite the phrase being in common use since the 17th century and appearing many thousands of times in print, there are no printed records that associate it with domestic violence until the 1970s, when the notion was castigated by feminists. The responses that circulated then, which assumed the wife-beating law to be true, may have been influenced by Gillray's cartoon or were possibly a reaction to The Rolling Stones' song 'Under My Thumb', which was recorded in 1966.

The phrase itself has been in circulation since the 1600s. In 1692, it appeared in print in Sir William Hope's training manual for aspiring swordsmen, The Compleat Fencing-master:


"What he doth, he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art."

The origin of the phrase remains unknown. It is likely that it refers to one of the numerous ways that thumbs have been used to estimate things - judging the alignment or distance of an object by holding the thumb in one's eye-line, the temperature of brews of beer, measurement of an inch from the joint to the nail to the tip, or across the thumb, etc. The phrase joins the whole nine yards as one that probably derives from some form of measurement but which is unlikely ever to be definitively pinned down. The Germans have a similar phrase to indicate a rough approximation - 'pi mal daumen' which translates as 'pi [3.14…] times thumb'.

The earliest such 'measurement' use that I can find referred to in print is in a journal of amusing tales with the comprehensive title of Witt's Recreations - Augmented with Ingenious Conceites for the Wittie and Merrie Medicines for the Melancholic. It was published in 1640 and contains this rhyme:


If Hercules tall stature might be guess'd
But by his thumb, the index of the rest,
In due proportion, the best rule that I
Would chuse, to measure Venus beauty by,
Should be her leg and foot:

The 'rule of leg' never caught on.



#7    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:18 PM

im telling you rule of thumb was in place to beat your wife, it has been confirmed

happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light

#8    Elfin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:19 PM

View Postkannin, on 09 August 2013 - 04:18 PM, said:

im telling you rule of thumb was in place to beat your wife, it has been confirmed

And I'm telling you it wasn't. It's a myth.


#9    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:21 PM

my grandmother told me about the rule of thumb when she was younger and her father enforced it on her mother, very real

happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light

#10    Kowalski

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:24 PM

View PostElfin, on 09 August 2013 - 04:15 PM, said:

Rule of thumb has nothing to do with wife beating or sticks, and is exactly what it sounds like, an approximate form of measurement.

http://www.phrases.o...e-of-thumb.html

Thanks for the link. :tu:
I remember reading this somewhere, but couldn't remember where.


#11    Elfin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:25 PM

View Postkannin, on 09 August 2013 - 04:21 PM, said:

my grandmother told me about the rule of thumb when she was younger and her father enforced it on her mother, very real

Then I can only assume he was using the myth as if it were real, but it never was.

http://www.straightd...ng-wife-beating

Quote


Does "rule of thumb" refer to an old law permitting wife beating?

May 12, 2000

Dear Cecil:

Recently in a conversation I used the expression "rule of thumb," which I have always understood to mean a technique for arriving at a quick estimate. A woman in our group took me to task, however, informing me that the expression originally referred to an old legal principle that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick provided the diameter did not exceed the width of his thumb. When I expressed my disbelief, several others chimed in that they had heard the same story. I'm flabbergasted, Cecil. Is this true? What other seemingly innocent phrases conceal ancient wrongs? It's getting to where I'm afraid to open my mouth.

— John Santogrossi, Atlanta

Cecil replies:

Ease your mind, bud. "Rule of thumb" doesn't refer to wife beating. I know it looks like I'm on some sort of rabid antifeminist crusade here. But at least we'll keep the etymologies straight.

Christina Hoff Sommers explains the whole confused business in her 1994 book Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. For more than 300 years "rule of thumb" has meant what most people think it means: any rough-and-ready method of estimating. It's believed to have originated with woodworkers, who made measurements with their thumbs. For more than 20 years, however, some feminists have maintained that rule of thumb has the darker meaning alluded to above. They say the principle of regulated wife beating was elucidated in the famous legal commentaries of William Blackstone (1723-'80), the basis of much U.S. common law, and that it prevailed in state courts well into the 19th century.

However, in Blackstone, as Sommers notes, there's no mention of the rule of thumb. We do find the following discussion: "The husband also, by the old law, might give his wife moderate correction … in the same moderation that a man is allowed to correct his apprentices or children … But with us, in the politer reign of Charles the Second [1660-'85], this power of correction began to be doubted; and a wife may now have security of the peace against her husband." In other words, once upon a time in olde England, a man could beat his wife. But don't try it now.

Wife beating has never been legal in the U.S. The Massachusetts Bay Colony prohibited it in 1655, religious groups campaigned against it, and vigilantes occasionally horsewhipped men accused of it. Most states had explicitly outlawed it by 1870.

The old permissive approach wasn't entirely forgotten, however. It was cited in two court rulings, one in Mississippi in 1824, the other in North Carolina in 1874. Both judges referred to an "ancient law" by which a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick provided it was no wider than his thumb. Where the judges came up with the thumb angle I don't know; as I say, it's not found in Blackstone. At any rate, both judges rejected the principle — each found the husband guilty in the wife-beating case he was adjudicating. And neither referred to the old law as the rule of thumb.

The two rulings were mentioned in an article by sociologist Robert Calvert published in the 1974 anthology Violence in the Family (Steinmetz and Straus, editors). In 1976, possibly having seen the article, Del Martin, coordinator of the NOW Task Force on Battered Women, wrote, "Our law, based upon the old English common-law doctrines, explicitly permitted wife-beating for correctional purposes. However … the common-law doctrine had been modified to allow the husband 'the right to whip his wife, provided that he used a switch no bigger than his thumb' — a rule of thumb, so to speak."

"Our law" didn't permit wife beating, but set that aside. Martin clearly was using "rule of thumb" as a figure of speech — she didn't claim it actually referred to legalized wife beating. As Sommers shows, however, this detail eluded subsequent retellers of the tale, the most egregious example being the title of a 1982 report on wife abuse by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, "Under the Rule of Thumb." This dark interpretation is now an entrenched popular belief.

So let's clarify once and for all:
1.English judges apparently took a more permissive attitude toward wife beating prior to 1660, but this attitude had been rejected by the time of Blackstone's commentaries, upon which our modern common law relies.
2.Wife beating has never been legal in the U.S.
3.A couple of 19th-century U.S. trial opinions referred to an "ancient law" permitting a husband to beat his wife with a stick not exceeding a thumb's width but rejected said law.
4.While this alleged rule involved a thumb, it wasn't the origin of "rule of thumb."

A complicated story, but one hopes we've gotten it straight at last.

— Cecil Adams



#12    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:26 PM

it may not have been an actual passed law, but people have used the saying for beating their wives

well than the myth is real, and people have used it

regardless its a horrible myth or fact, im leaving it at that

happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light

#13    Elfin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:27 PM

View Postkannin, on 09 August 2013 - 04:26 PM, said:

it may not have been an actual passed law, but people have used the saying for beating their wives

well than the myth is real, and people have used it

If they have, it proves the power of myth over reality.

Usually, the myth is used for the opposite purpose, to show how bad things were in the old days.

Edited by Elfin, 09 August 2013 - 04:27 PM.


#14    kannin

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:31 PM

View PostElfin, on 09 August 2013 - 04:27 PM, said:

If they have, it proves the power of myth over reality.

Usually, the myth is used for the opposite purpose, to show how bad things were in the old days.
myths have inspired many things and outcomes, if it wasnt for myths we would have no adventure

happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light

#15    SpiritWalker7

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 05:41 PM

Vikings weren't messing around.

"When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do." -William Blake




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