Re: Pet Peeves

Subject: Re: Pet Peeves
From: Amy Gale <amyg -at- grammatech -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 11:11:42 -0400

Gordon McLean wrote:

>"rule of thumb"?
>I'm genuinely curious as to why this is either sexist or racist. Yes I
>wouldn't use it in documentation but... No someone smarter than me will need
>to point out why that statement is 'bad'.
Some people believe that it originated from a law stating a man could
beat his wife with a switch no thicker than his thumb.

My (admittedly nonexhaustive) research suggests that
1) Nobody has ever found this law, and
2) The earliest textual reference to the law is dated...1976

A more general question: are _any_ of the "well known" origins of
commonly used phrases accurate? I always assume not. Likewise, any
stories about the origins of words as acronyms (technical terms
excepted. And "gulag".).


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RE: Pet Peeves: From: Gordon McLean

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