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

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Despite the killings, protesters continue to turn out every day in towns big and small to reject the return of military rule after a decade of tentative steps towards democracy. NBC News, "Easter eggs become symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters in Myanmar," 4 Apr. 2021 Whereas monks were prominent in the previous bout of protests against military rule, in 2007, their role has been much more ambiguous this time. The Economist, "Myanmar’s military coup has riven the Buddhist monkhood," 31 Mar. 2021 The coup, which ousted the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, reversed years of progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Fox News, "Thousands flee Burma airstrikes, complicating crisis," 29 Mar. 2021 The coup reversed years of progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Editors, USA TODAY, "Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend," 28 Mar. 2021 Soldiers and the police invade homes in the middle of the night, searching for opponents of military rule. New York Times, "Beaten, Cuffed, Hauled Away: When Myanmar’s Military Comes Knocking," 26 Mar. 2021 As Kruse worked to book his fiance on a relief flight, Yar Zar Min protested in a country that was, once again, falling under military rule. Tatiana Sanchez, San Francisco Chronicle, "Couple separated by Myanmar's military takeover reunite in S.F.," 5 Mar. 2021 The Golden State has endured nearly a full generation of Democratic rule. Elizabeth Heng, National Review, "How Republicans Can Win in California," 24 Mar. 2021 Justice Amy Coney Barrett said homeowners would be surprised if the same sort of rule could be applied to their property. Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court appears skeptical of California rule letting union organizers on private farms," 22 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While President Biden didn’t include it as a funding mechanism in his new $2 trillion infrastructure plan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki earlier in March pointedly refused to rule it out as part of a larger tax reform package. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "The rising interest in a wealth tax," 2 Apr. 2021 Although law enforcement has yet to find evidence that the attack was racially motivated, officers have yet to rule it out. The Economist, "Daily chart The pandemic appears to have sparked a rise in anti-Asian bigotry," 23 Mar. 2021 Even harmless chemicals must be documented and made available so scientists can rule them out or easily identify them. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Humans Contain 42 Mystery Chemicals, Which Is Slightly Concerning," 22 Mar. 2021 Iona likely will not be the fourth program Pitino leads to a Final Four, but who is to rule it out at this point? USA TODAY, "March Madness analysis: Team-by-team capsules for all 68 men's NCAA Tournament teams," 16 Mar. 2021 That probably means no, but Baffert didn’t rule it out entirely. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Horse racing newsletter: Baffert and Swiss Skydiver have a good day," 14 Mar. 2021 If that number needs to go up a bit in the interest of alleviating poverty and providing economic alternatives to climate-vulnerable industries like agriculture, US policymakers shouldn’t rule it out, Barasa said. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "Biden’s crusade against fossil fuels won’t work in Africa," 12 Mar. 2021 Husted and Mandel have issued statements that, more or less, clearly expressed their interest in the seat, while Timken issued a statement that didn’t rule it out. cleveland, "Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to run sets off mad Republican scramble for open seat," 25 Jan. 2021 The fighting around Bangui comes one week before the Constitutional Court is to rule on the validity of the election results. Star Tribune, "Central African Republic soldiers repel rebels at capital," 13 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for rule

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rule

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rule. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rule

Nglish: Translation of rule for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rule for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rule

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