rule

noun
\ ˈrül How to pronounce rule (audio) \

Definition of rule

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a prescribed guide for conduct or action
b : the laws or regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for observance by its members
c : an accepted procedure, custom, or habit
d(1) : a usually written order or direction made by a court regulating court practice or the action of parties
(2) : a legal precept or doctrine
e : a regulation or bylaw governing procedure or controlling conduct
2a(1) : a usually valid generalization
(2) : a generally prevailing quality, state, or mode fair weather was the rule yesterdayThe New York Times
b : a standard of judgment : criterion
c : a regulating principle
d : a determinate method for performing a mathematical operation and obtaining a certain result
3a : the exercise of authority or control : dominion
b : a period during which a specified ruler or government exercises control
4a : a strip of material marked off in units used especially for measuring : ruler sense 3, tape measure
b : a metal strip with a type-high face that prints a linear design also : a linear design produced by or as if by such a strip
as a rule
: for the most part : generally

rule

verb
ruled; ruling

Definition of rule (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to exert control, direction, or influence on the passions that rule our minds
b : to exercise control over especially by curbing or restraining rule a fractious horse ruled his appetites firmly
2a : to exercise authority or power over often harshly or arbitrarily the speaker ruled the legislature with an iron hand
b : to be preeminent in : dominate
3 : to determine and declare authoritatively especially : to command or determine judicially
4a(1) : to mark with lines drawn along or as if along the straight edge of a ruler
(2) : to mark (a line) on a paper with a ruler
b : to arrange in a line

intransitive verb

1a : to exercise supreme authority
b : to be first in importance or prominence : predominate the physical did not rule in her nature— Sherwood Anderson
2 : to exist in a specified state or condition
3 : to lay down a legal rule
4 slang : to be extremely cool or popular used as a generalized term of praise or approval for a little attitude at the right price, sneakers rule— Tish Hamilton

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Synonyms for rule

Synonyms: Noun

bylaw, ground rule, reg, regulation

Synonyms: Verb

boss, captain, command, control, govern, preside (over), sway [archaic]

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Choose the Right Synonym for rule

Noun

law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon mean a principle governing action or procedure. law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority. obey the law rule applies to more restricted or specific situations. the rules of the game regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system. regulations affecting nuclear power plants precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching. the precepts of effective writing statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body. a statute requiring the use of seat belts ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality. a city ordinance canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide. the canons of good taste

Verb

decide, determine, settle, rule, resolve mean to come or cause to come to a conclusion. decide implies previous consideration of a matter causing doubt, wavering, debate, or controversy. she decided to sell her house determine implies fixing the identity, character, scope, or direction of something. determined the cause of the problem settle implies a decision reached by someone with power to end all dispute or uncertainty. the dean's decision settled the campus alcohol policy rule implies a determination by judicial or administrative authority. the judge ruled that the evidence was inadmissible resolve implies an expressed or clear decision or determination to do or refrain from doing something. he resolved to quit smoking

Examples of rule in a Sentence

Noun

I understand the basic rules of chess. As long as you're living under our roof, you'll follow our rules. The college has strict rules for qualifying for financial assistance. The new rule allows employees to dress casually on Fridays. Under the new rules, casual dress is now allowed. the company's rules and regulations It's important to learn the rules of the road before taking your driving test. It's against the rules to eat during class. He violated the unwritten rule that you must thank your host before you leave a party. If you break the rules, you'll be asked to leave.

Verb

The queen ruled for 25 years. A dynasty ruled over this region during the 11th century. Who will be the next leader to rule the country? All of his actions were ruled by his religion. The court ruled in favor of the defendant. The jury ruled against the tobacco companies. How will the court rule on the motion? The Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional. The board ruled that her behavior was cheating.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After their shift, the two standout hockey players — Nick, the quiet rule follower and Jack, the silly one who always had a smile on his face — got haircuts. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Two brothers, hockey players, dead on same day of opioid overdose," 13 June 2019 William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images Last week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced a rule change that could keep me out of the first presidential debate. Steve Bullock, Fortune, "Steve Bullock: Keeping Me From the First Democratic Debate Shows We Haven’t Learned Our Lesson From 2016," 12 June 2019 CalRecycle, the state’s recycling agency, would have authority to adopt the rules by 2023. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "California takes on an ocean of plastic waste, considers crackdown on industry," 12 June 2019 Abide by the rules, and avoid situations that might implicate you as an accomplice. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: June 12, 2019," 12 June 2019 The rule change comes after the annual passage rate on the Mississippi Bar exam has dropped from 79% in 2014 to 48% last year. USA TODAY, "High Line milestones, Iowa’s big stink, Muscle Beach makeover: News from around our 50 states," 11 June 2019 The rule change could affect people like 56-year-old Senaid Junuvocic. Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post, "He doesn’t speak English. Should that be considered in an application for disability benefits?," 10 June 2019 Tour operators and farmers complain of lower profits due to new taxes and rule changes. The Economist, "Tanzania’s president loves mega-projects. Careful planning, less so," 8 June 2019 Manfred expects any rule changes to be addressed in the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations that will ramp up next year. Tim Booth, courant.com, "Manfred doesn’t expect protective nets to change in season," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But after a 22-minute review, stewards ruled Maximum Security caused interference for three other horses and disqualified him to 17th place. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Maximum Security will return Sunday for first race since Kentucky Derby disqualification," 13 June 2019 But in 2010, in a decision called Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Supreme Court ruled against the organization. Jenna Krajeski, The New Yorker, "A Victim of Terrorism Faces Deportation for Helping Terrorists," 11 June 2019 But in an April 18 opinion, the Supreme Court — with three of its seven members newly appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis — ruled that state election law prevents counties from deciding to hold nonpartisan elections. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, "It’s back to Democrats vs. Republicans as nonpartisan elections end for key Palm Beach County officials, including the sheriff," 10 June 2019 But in November 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the case can move forward to a trial, saying that a US District Court improperly granted Comcast's motion to dismiss ESN's complaint. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Comcast’s fight against racial-bias lawsuit is taken up by Supreme Court," 10 June 2019 For many years now — since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than a quarter of a century ago — Tajikistan has been ruled by one dictator, Emomali Rahmon. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Riveting Tales: An Oslo Journal, Part III," 10 June 2019 Two months after Obando’s death, police ruled it a homicide but did not tie Joiner to the murder. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Former Gator Tony Joiner charged with murdering wife," 9 June 2019 Obando's death had been ruled a homicide two months after her body was recovered. Kaelen Jones, SI.com, "Report: Ex-Gator Tony Joiner Arrested for Allegedly Murdering Wife," 9 June 2019 The recent deaths of Aaron Bowers, 28, and another Joliet jail inmate were ruled to have been due to natural causes, police said Friday. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Will County jail deaths ruled as being from natural causes, sheriff says," 8 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rule.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rule

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for rule

Noun

Middle English reule, from Anglo-French, from Latin regula straightedge, rule, from regere to keep straight, direct — more at right

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Statistics for rule

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rule

The first known use of rule was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for rule

rule

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rule

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a statement that tells you what is or is not allowed in a particular game, situation, etc.
: a statement that tells you what is allowed or what will happen within a particular system (such as a language or science)
: a piece of advice about the best way to do something

rule

verb

English Language Learners Definition of rule (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have control and power over a country, area, group, etc.
: to have great influence over (someone)
: to make a legal decision about something

rule

noun
\ ˈrül How to pronounce rule (audio) \

Kids Definition of rule

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a guide or principle for conduct or action To play this game, you need to follow the rules.
2 : an accepted or usual method, custom, or habit “I'm a pretty quiet creature as a rule,” said the horse …— Hugh Lofting, Dr. Dolittle
3 : the exercise of authority or control : government The country was under British rule.

rule

verb
ruled; ruling

Kids Definition of rule (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to exercise authority over : govern
2 : control entry 1 sense 1, direct Don't let emotions rule your decision.
3 : to be supreme or outstanding in He rules the tennis courts.
4 : to give or state as a considered decision The judge ruled that the evidence could not be used.
5 : to mark with lines drawn along the straight edge of a ruler

rule

noun

Legal Definition of rule

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a prescribed guide for conduct or action
b : a regulating principle or precept
2a : an order or directive issued by a court in a particular proceeding especially upon petition of a party to the proceeding that commands an officer or party to perform an act or show cause why an act should not be performed a rule directing the district court to show cause why its ruling should not be vacatedPeople v. District Court, 797 P.2d 1259 (1990)
b : a usually judicially promulgated regulation having the force of law that governs judicial practice or procedure rules of evidence rules of appellate procedure — see also rule of court
3 : all or part of a statement (as a regulation) by an administrative agency that has general or particular applicability and future effect and that is designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or that describes the organization, procedure, or practice of the agency itself a rule subject to statutory notice and comment requirements for informal rulemaking
4a : a regulation or bylaw governing procedure or conduct in a body, organization, institution, or proceeding
b : a resolution of a legislative rules committee setting forth the terms for consideration of a particular bill by the entire body
5 : the exercise of authority or control majority rule — see also home rule, rule of law sense 2

rule

verb
ruled; ruling

Legal Definition of rule (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to exercise authority or power over
2 : to determine and declare authoritatively especially : to command or determine judicially ruled the evidence inadmissible

intransitive verb

1 : to exercise supreme authority
2 : to lay down a rule or ruling ruled in favor of the plaintiff

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More from Merriam-Webster on rule

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rule

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rule

Spanish Central: Translation of rule

Nglish: Translation of rule for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rule for Arabic Speakers

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