How long is a piece of string?

How long is a piece of string?

A set phrase used to avoid responding to a question requesting an estimate of the size, amount, or duration of something. The phrase is used to indicate that the speaker does not know or does not want to guess. A: "How much time will we need to devote to renovation?" B: "How long is a piece of string?"
See also: how, long, of, piece

how long is a piece of string?

When people say How long is a piece of string? they mean that they are not able to guess the length, size or amount of something. Asked how long it might take to fix, he said: `How long is a piece of string?' Mary Ross is convinced the health food market is huge, but is not sure just how big. `How long is a piece of string?' she said.
See also: how, long, of, piece

how long is a piece of string?

used as a rejoinder to indicate that it is unreasonable for someone to expect the speaker to be more precise about something. informal
See also: how, long, of, piece

how long is a piece of ˈstring?

(British English, spoken) used to say that there is no definite answer to a question: ‘How long will it take?’ ‘How long’s a piece of string?’
See also: how, long, of, piece
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