rule of thumb

noun phrase

: a method of procedure based on experience and common sense
: a general principle regarded as roughly correct but not intended to be scientifically accurate

Examples of rule of thumb in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But one rule of thumb is that some brands are geared toward specific age demographics. Leslie Patrick, Travel + Leisure, 17 May 2024 The rule of thumb, explosives experts say, is that 10% of munitions do not detonate on impact. Anas Baba, NPR, 13 May 2024 One rule of thumb, King says, is to drink half your weight in water (in ounces) every day. Angela Haupt, TIME, 13 May 2024 As a rule of thumb, the U.N. assumes that ten per cent of ordnance fail to function. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 8 May 2024 Gazing back over his A-list subjects, Mr. Yeo has developed a few rules of thumb about his art. Mark Landler, New York Times, 2 May 2024 Another rule of thumb when using sunscreen is to always find the waterproof variety, if not water resistant. Ella Gonzales, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 26 Apr. 2024 The rule of thumb today is that our chances of severe weather generally increase from northwest to southeast across the region. Jeff Halverson, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2024 The rule of thumb for retirement savings is to draw down 4% of one's retirement assets each year. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 20 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rule of thumb.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rule of thumb was circa 1658

Dictionary Entries Near rule of thumb

Cite this Entry

“Rule of thumb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

rule of thumb

: a method based on experience and common sense
: a general principle that is roughly correct
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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