eextremely currently and also then, generally once somebody asks me once I"ll complete some programming task that I haven"t also looked right into yet.

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I recognize what it means:

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Phrase

How long is a piece of string? 1. (colloquial, frequently humorous) Used as an answer to a question such as "How long will certainly it take?" or "How big is it?" once the length or size is unrecognized, boundless, or variable.-How lengthy is a item of string?, Wiktionary.

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

Why is it used to denote an unrecognized size, size or time? As in, what is it about the string that provides it supposedly hard or impossible to measure?


etymology phrases
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asked May 17 "17 at 0:03
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MöozMöoz
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Ngram indicates that the expression is relatively recent, at least as current as the 19th century.

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The earliest use I might uncover either in publications or periodicals is from 1885. I have actually no factor to think this is the initially use, apart from being the earliest citation I can personally discover, but the use in this write-up has actually fairly a little of context in the explacountry.

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The growth in popularity in the beforehand 1900"s, shown by the spike about 1920 on the Ngram graph, can be an outcome of a quite influential and also widely reported usage of the expression by US Secretary of War Lindley Garriboy in 1913. One of various similar reports on that quote was retrieved right here. This specific usage also does a good task explaining what the expression means; Nobody knows the answer to "just how long is a piece of string" without even more context, just as Sec. Garriboy asserted to must understand more before answering a question around his plan in the Philippines.

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edited May 17 "17 at 11:53
answered May 17 "17 at 0:34
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RaceYouAnytimeRaceYouAnytime
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It is not that it cannot be measured. It is that a piece of string deserve to be arbitrarily long.

Technically, I intend if it were short enough we might call it lint, and also tright here is more than likely an upper bound on just how lengthy a piece of string can be in practice, but linguistically it is an unanswerable question in the abstract.

The reason it"s used in this conmessage is that a certain piece of string have the right to be measured, however simply learning that it is a piece of string tells you nothing (or practically nothing) around its length.

See more: Which Statement Best Describes Why A Machine Is Useful? Which Statement Best Describes Scrum

So if someone were to ask you "how lengthy is a piece of string?" the only real answer is that you perform not understand. It"s a various question from "exactly how long is this item of string?"


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answered May 17 "17 at 0:10
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Dr XorileDr Xorile
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