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a rule of thumb


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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) a principle of law

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b) an educated guess

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c) a rough and useful principle

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A rule of thumb is a rough and useful principle or method, based on experience rather than precisely accurate measures.

French translation

une règle générale

How NOT to translate : *une règle de pouce

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Examples in context

‘India c.bank warns banks against making "mockery" of its lending operations

The Reserve Bank of India is getting tougher on extending unlimited credit to the country’s banks to try to ensure they push interest rate cuts through the financial system and to stop them from making what one official called a "mockery" of its operations.

A senior treasury official at a large state-run bank said as a rule of thumb it kept a daily cash cushion of 4 to 5 billion rupees ($64-$80 million) to guard against any unexpected demand for funding from retail or corporate customers.’

The Daily Mail, 20th February 2015

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’Boardroom quotas will not solve gender inequality – Business Minister

Speaking at the CIPD event Gender Diversity in the Boardroom in London yesterday, Jo Swinson called for a cultural shift to improve gender diversity at all levels of business.

“The boardroom is just effectively a symptom of the wider problem, which is why I don’t believe that a quota response to this is actually going to come close to solving the issues that we need to solve.

“I have made a rule of thumb that I am going to spend my rather scarce time these days, devoted to actually helping to improve the situation for women and for businesses, rather than argue about something which you could argue about until forever, she said.’

Politics Home, 26th February 2015

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Everyday usage

The rule of thumb when doing laundry is to keep light and dark clothes separate.

The appraisal of privately held businesses is not an exact science but there are guidelines and rules of thumb that can be used for a close approximation of value.

Some economists have been investigating how rule-of-thumb strategies can benefit companies.


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