reg·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌre-gyə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce regulation (audio) , ˌre-gə- also ˌrā- \

Definition of regulation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of regulating : the state of being regulated
2a : an authoritative rule dealing with details or procedure safety regulations
b : a rule or order issued by an executive authority or regulatory agency of a government and having the force of law
3a : the process of redistributing material (as in an embryo) to restore a damaged or lost part independent of new tissue growth
b : the mechanism by which an early embryo maintains normal development
4a or regulation time : the standard period of time established by the rules of a game or contest excluding overtime Trailing by five with less than a minute to go in regulation, Boston forced the game into overtime …— Bob Ryan Dallas downed the ball at the 20 with 1:47 left in regulation.— Ralph N. Paulk … there will be a change in France for the 1988 World Cup: a sudden-death … period after regulation time.— George Vecsey
b golf : the standard number of strokes allowed by par for reaching the green on a given hole (that is, one stroke on a par 3, two strokes on a par 4, and three strokes on a par 5) Using his conservative left-to-right fade, he hit all but three greens in regulation.— Jaime Diaz



Definition of regulation (Entry 2 of 2)

: conforming to regulations : official

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Synonyms for regulation

Synonyms: Noun

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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

Examples of regulation in a Sentence

Noun Builders must comply with the regulations. regulations on the disposal of waste Each agency has its own set of rules and regulations. Adjective Students must wear regulation uniforms.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tannehill was 7 for 7 on the final drive of regulation, six of the seven passes going to running backs. Tim Booth, ajc, 20 Sep. 2021 The Ravens’ Justin Tucker hit a 47-yarder in the final minute of regulation to give his team a 3-point lead, only to be upstaged by the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson, who hit a 55-yarder at the buzzer to send that game to OT., 18 Sep. 2021 Kicker Justin Tucker made both of his field-goal attempts, including a 47-yarder to give the Ravens a lead in the last minute of regulation. Childs Walker,, 17 Sep. 2021 In the final 90 seconds of regulation Saturday, Washington quarterback Dylan Morris ran for his life. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 14 Sep. 2021 Placekicker Greg Joseph blasted a tying 53-yard field goal on the final play of regulation. Steve Silverman, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 But requiring surveillance of an athlete’s brain trespasses into one of the last vestiges of private space; any form of regulation would need to be accompanied by guidelines to protect against abuse. Brandy Schillace, Wired, 12 Sep. 2021 Vikings kicker Greg Joseph kicked his own 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 12 Sep. 2021 Schwab also said that there should be an international standard for this sort of regulation, so that companies — especially new or smaller ones — aren’t forced to navigate a global maze of standards. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In June, Mark Buse, the top lobbying executive at the dating app company Match Group and a former board member of a pro-regulation group called the Coalition for App Fairness, wrote to Mr. Jo, the Korean lawmaker, supporting the proposal. New York Times, 23 Aug. 2021 Lofven’s options are limited as his coalition relies on the continued support of the Left, which is pro-regulation, and of a more center-right faction that wants deregulation. Niclas Rolander,, 17 June 2021 His coalition relies on the continued support of the Left, which is pro-regulation, and of a more conservative faction that wants deregulation. Time, 17 June 2021 Several episodes of the Times’s Ezra Klein podcast last month were brought to my ears by Facebook and the soothing sounds of its pro-regulation message. Gilad Edelman, Wired, 8 Mar. 2021 After using Friday’s post-regulation play to work on their 6-on-5, empty net power plays, the Wings used Sunday to simulate 3-on-3 overtime. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 11 Jan. 2021 As an anti-regulation Republican, Berry has rarely been an ally to North Carolina workers in her two decades in the role. Nick Martin, The New Republic, 8 Dec. 2020 McCormick, backed heavily by the free-trade, anti-regulation Club for Growth, also posted an outright victory against heavy primary opposition. Arkansas Online, 6 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'regulation.' 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 regulation


1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1803, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for regulation

Time Traveler

The first known use of regulation was in 1611

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Dictionary Entries Near regulation

regulating station



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Statistics for regulation

Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Regulation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for regulation



English Language Learners Definition of regulation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an official rule or law that says how something should be done
: the act of regulating something



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

: in agreement with the official rules


reg·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌre-gyə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce regulation (audio) \

Kids Definition of regulation

1 : a rule or law telling how something is to be done safety regulations
2 : the act of controlling or bringing under control the regulation of water flow


reg·​u·​la·​tion | \ ˌreg-yə-ˈlā-shən, ˌreg-ə-ˈlā- How to pronounce regulation (audio) \

Medical Definition of regulation

1 : the act of regulating also : the resulting state or condition
2a : the process of redistributing material (as in an embryo) to restore a damaged or lost part independent of new tissue growth — compare regeneration sense 2
b : the mechanism by which an early embryo maintains normal development
3 : the control of the kind and rate of cellular processes by controlling the activity of individual genes

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Legal Definition of regulation

1 : the act of regulating or state of being regulated
2 : an authoritative rule specifically : a rule or order issued by a government agency and often having the force of law — see also Administrative Procedure Act

Note: An agency is often delegated the power to issue regulations by the legislation that created it. Regulations must be made in accordance with prescribed procedures, such as those set out in the federal or a state Administrative Procedure Act. Federal regulations are first published in the Federal Register and later codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.

More from Merriam-Webster on regulation

Nglish: Translation of regulation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of regulation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about regulation


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