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(I should read more French.)

Finger in the air indeed.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 07:37:11 AM EST
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The expression "au doigt mouillé" means testing for wind direction by sticking up a wet finger.

In this case, sticking up where might be interesting to know.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 09:31:03 AM EST
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I was at a loss translating that. How would you have done it?

Maybe "how [it] saw the light of day... out of their sleeve/thin air/their arse"?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 09:47:08 AM EST
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I regularly hear native (UK) colleagues say "finger in the air", so that's probably the best translation for the expression by itself.

In context I (not a native speaker) would say "out of thin air" is the best current phrase and fits with the rest of the sentence.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 09:54:02 AM EST
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I don't know, it's not easy to translate.

By rule of thumb?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 10:39:39 AM EST
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Otherwise it evokes for me the alternative French expression "à vue de nez" (colloquially "au pif"), that is, in Occitan/Catalan "a vista de nas" and in Castilian (I think) "a vista de nariz".

But English doesn't use noses like that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 10:43:39 AM EST
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I think there's some method to the madness in the case of 'a rule of thumb', which is not the case with a licked finger in the wind.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Sep 28th, 2012 at 02:53:31 PM EST
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