rule of thumb

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rule of thumb

An approximation; a suggested method or guideline. A good rule of thumb is to plant your seedlings around the end of May.
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rule of thumb

a general principle developed through experiential rather than scientific means. As a rule of thumb, I move my houseplants outside in May. Going by a rule of thumb, we stop for gas every 200 miles when we are traveling.
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rule of thumb

A rough and useful principle or method, based on experience rather than precisely accurate measures. For example, His work with the youth group is largely by rule of thumb. This expression alludes to making rough estimates of measurements by using one's thumb. [Second half of 1600s]
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a rule of thumb

COMMON A rule of thumb is a general rule about something which is right in most cases. As a rule of thumb, drink a glass of water or pure fruit juice every hour you are travelling. A good rule of thumb for any type of studio photography is to use no more light sources than are strictly necessary. Note: This expression probably dates back to the use of the first joint of the thumb as a unit of measurement.
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rule of thumb

a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory.
1998 New Scientist The best forecast of tomorrow's weather in any one place often comes not from a supercomputer, but from the rule of thumb that says: tomorrow it will be similar to today.
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a rule of ˈthumb

a quick, practical, but not exact, way of measuring or calculating something: As a rule of thumb you need a litre of paint to every 12 square metres of wall.This phrase may come from the fact that people often used their thumbs to estimate measurements.
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References in periodicals archive ?
And the rule of thumb does not take the balance sheet into account at all.
Takayuki Tamura and colleagues note that wine connoisseurs established the rule of thumb because of the flavor clash between red wine and fish.
If you have a public light and power study (PLP), then instead of the rule of thumb, you can apply a more exact test.
It's a similar story with newshole, which the rule of thumb states should be at 50% of available space.
The rule of thumb is that heavier items should go toward the top of the pack, closer to your body, while the lighter ones should go to the bottom (as long as they don't get crushed).
The rule of thumb for approximating M follows directly from Equation 6:
Carter's explanation of the rule of thumb is an example of erroneous modern day revisionist history.
He says he "believes" the rule of thumb (which he notes was never a rule) came from the cost and revenue study "I can't tell you when it began," Lavine wrote in an e-mail to AJR.
Francis: The rule of thumb is unrefined, unprocessed foods, low fat, no sugar, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine.
The rule of thumb that Warren uses, he said, is to "figure out the total dollars that the company is likely to spend.
When it comes to getting the sharpest possible image of a heavenly object, the rule of thumb is, the bigger the telescope mirror, the better.
If a rule of thumb is utilized to develop a range of value for a small closely held business, one should be careful to understand what the rule of thumb proports to value.
The rule of thumb is that homeowners should consider a refi if they can save 1 percentage point and plan on staying in their home for at least five more years.
The rule of thumb for air flow is to use 1 cfm of air per pound of material being processed in one hour.
To the extent that the company being valued is average, the application of the rule of thumb may be indicative of value.