Definition of by the rules
- After years of boredom, he grew tired of living by the rules.
- She has always played by the rules throughout her career.
: a prescribed guide for conduct or action
: the laws or regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for observance by its members
: an accepted procedure, custom, or habit
: to exert control, direction, or influence on
: to exercise control over especially by curbing or restraining
: to exercise authority or power over often harshly or arbitrarily
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