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Dear Ann Landers,
I would like your help in eliminating a phrase from our vocabulary. It is "rule of thumb." This may seem innocuous to you, but the history of the phrase could make you change your mind. Before enlightenment and more civilized thinking, there were rules regarding when and how a man could beat a woman. For example, he could not beat her on Sundays and was not allowed to beat her with a stick that was thicker than the breadth of his thumb. Hence the expression "rule of thumb." I think we should eliminate that phrase from our vocabularies out of respect for the abused women of the world. Will you help? -- New Rules in Grand Forks, N.D.

Dear N.D.,
I don't recall ever having used that phrase, and now that I know the origin, I doubt that I ever will. Thanks for the info.



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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Janice's Comment
I think you should take the time and energy it took you to write this letter, minimal though it was, and direct it towards solving an actual problem.
 
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"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
-Ann Landers