ground rule


Definition of ground rule 

1 : a sports rule adopted to modify play on a particular field, court, or course

2 : a rule of procedure ground rules for selecting a superintendentAmer. School Board Jour.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for ground rule


bylaw, regulation, rule

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of ground rule in a Sentence

before the debate begins, let's lay out some ground rules

Recent Examples on the Web

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity under State Department ground rules. John Hudson, Washington Post, "Despite impact on prices, U.S. will aim to bring Iran’s oil revenue to zero," 2 July 2018 If the government wants to negotiate, there are ways to set ground rules to protect the interests of both sides. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "Media Fight Access Restrictions on Child Detention Centers," 27 June 2018 Even the ground rules for the current investigation of President Trump could change. Bob Egelko,, "Kennedy’s departure opens questions about the future of abortion rights," 27 June 2018 This isn't the first time Blue has set the ground rules. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Watch Blue Ivy, Six-Year-Old Queen, Scold Her Grandmother, Tina Knowles," 24 May 2018 Typically, Bahr and the opposing head coach will shake hands, exchange pleasantries and discuss the ground rules of the home team’s field. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After a Shoreland Lutheran baseball player died unexpectedly, regional opponent Lake County Lutheran helped his team say goodbye," 25 May 2018 Officials with the American Federation of Government Employees Council 252 said the department is flouting labor law and protocols, walking away from negotiations on a new contract last year before ground rules could even be set. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "Workers accuse Trump administration, DeVos of union-busting," 28 Mar. 2018 There were ground rules, chief among them: no media leaks. Shirley Leung,, "How progressives and businesses made an unlikely deal on family leave," 28 June 2018 Create a list of family ground rules that everyone can agree on. Martina Schimitschek,, "Back under the same roof," 4 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of ground rule

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ground rule

Share ground rule

Statistics for ground rule

Last Updated

31 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ground rule

The first known use of ground rule was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ground rule

ground rule


English Language Learners Definition of ground rule

: a basic rule about what should be done in a particular situation, event, etc.

sports : a special rule about how a game is played on a particular field, court, or course

More from Merriam-Webster on ground rule

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ground rule

Comments on ground rule

What made you want to look up ground rule? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!