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, reg, 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

This is a ground rule in statistics and probability: the greater the sample size, the great the accuracy. Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: What's Causing Novak Djokovic's Downturn and When Will He Return to Form?," 28 Mar. 2018 Even within the department store, the most powerful brands have started to change the ground rules. Joshua Levine, WSJ, "Saks Doubles Down on Department Stores With New Restaurant in New York City," 15 Jan. 2019 Commissioner Dan Saltzman and transportation commissioners sent a letter Tuesday to five companies hoping to operate in the city to set out some ground rules. Andrew Theen,, "E-scooters likely coming to Portland this summer, with no guarantee of future," 1 June 2018 Establish ground rules for a constructive discussion; then turn the meeting over to her. Marie G. Mcintyre, The Seattle Times, "2 options for handling mansplaining at work," 28 Nov. 2018 The ground rules are fairly straightforward: Three contestants, all of whom must carry some college debt, go head-to-head on a series of trivia questions, including a few related to education. Daniel Arkin /, NBC News, "New game show 'Paid Off' offers chance to eliminate student loan debt," 10 July 2018 Now that everyone's here, Chris Harrison sets the ground rules: Each week there will be Bachelor-style dates. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Bachelor in Paradise Season 5, Episode 1 Recap: All About Colton," 7 Aug. 2018 Preorder users can request a unit and test it for the company, although Jannard sets some serious ground rules for using it. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "RED says Hydrogen One phone will miss summer release date," 8 Aug. 2018 The ground rules are a response to more than 4,500 Googlers signing a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon project called Maven that uses machine learning to interpret drone surveillance video. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Google Sets Limits on Its Use of AI, but Allows Defense Work," 7 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

2 Mar 2019

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.
chiefly US, 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).


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!