every now and also then, usually as soon as somebody asks me as soon as I"ll end up some programming job that i haven"t also looked into yet.

You are watching: How long is a piece of string

I understand what it means:

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Phrase

How long is a piece of string? 1. (colloquial, often humorous) used as a an answer to a question such together "How lengthy will the take?" or "How large is it?" as soon as the length or dimension is unknown, infinite, or variable.-How long is a piece of string?, Wiktionary.

But I"d like to know what is the beginning of this phrase?

Why is it provided to denote an unknown size, length or time? together in, what is it around the cable that provides it supposedly tough or difficult to measure?


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asked may 17 "17 at 0:03
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MöozMöoz
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Ngram indicates that the phrase is reasonably recent, at least as current as the 19th century.

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The earliest use I could find one of two people in books or periodicals is native 1885. I have no factor to believe this is the an initial use, personal from being the earliest quote I can personally find, however the use in this short article has fairly a little of paper definition in the explanation.

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The development in popularity in the early on 1900"s, suggested by the spike roughly 1920 ~ above the Ngram graph, could be a result of a fairly prominent and also widely reported usage of the phrase by us Secretary of war Lindley Garrison in 1913. One of various comparable reports on the quote to be retrieved here. This certain use likewise does a an excellent job explaining what the phrase means; Nobody to know the answer to "how long is a item of string" without more context, simply as Sec. Garrison claimed to should know much more before comment a question about his policy in the Philippines.

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edited might 17 "17 at 11:53
answered may 17 "17 at 0:34
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RaceYouAnytimeRaceYouAnytime
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It is no that it can not be measured. That is that a item of string can be arbitrarily long.

Technically, I expect if the were quick enough us might call it lint, and also there is probably an top bound on exactly how long a piece of string might be in practice, yet linguistically that is an unanswerable concern in the abstract.

The reason it"s supplied in this paper definition is the a certain piece the string deserve to be measured, yet just knowing that that is a piece of string speak you naught (or nearly nothing) around its length.

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So if someone were to ask girlfriend "how long is a item of string?" the just real answer is the you perform not know. It"s a different question from "how long is this piece of string?"


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answered may 17 "17 at 0:10
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Dr XorileDr Xorile
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Highly energetic question. Earn 10 call (not counting the combination bonus) in order to answer this question. The reputation requirement helps defend this question from spam and also non-answer activity.

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