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

bylaw, ground rule, reg, regulation

Synonyms: Verb

boss, captain, command, control, govern, preside (over), sway [archaic]

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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

In March, the state adopted rules that allow on-site consumption of marijuana at Alaska cannabis retailers. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska regulators reject first application for on-site marijuana consumption," 12 July 2019 Rodger Schwecke, the company’s senior vice president for gas operations and construction, attributed the lengthy repair process to the remote desert terrain, and to environmental rules imposed by state regulators. Sammy Roth, latimes.com, "After Aliso Canyon, a gas pipeline exploded — and Californians lost $1 billion," 11 July 2019 References to pork, for example, could be highly offensive to Jews or Muslims even though no words in the post would violate Twitter’s rule against dehumanizing content. Sara Harrison, WIRED, "Twitter and Instagram Unveil New Ways to Combat Hate—Again," 11 July 2019 Her job is to make sure the Wolfpack don’t violate NCAA rules. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "The Severe Penalties NC State Could Face for Recruiting Allegations Involving Dennis Smith Jr.," 11 July 2019 Five years later, Norwalk investigators traveled to Maine to collect new DNA evidence that further did not rule Karun out as a suspect, but had cleared two other persons of interest, an arrest warrant affidavit said. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Marc Karun, Maine man charged in 1986 killing of 11-year-old Kathleen Flynn in Norwalk, remains held on $5 million bail after court appearance," 10 July 2019 The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a reserve judge's conclusions that former Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf violated ethical rules and should be suspended. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Supreme Court dismisses ethics case against former Kenosha County DA," 10 July 2019 Big news from the NBA, which has approved a new rule allowing head coaches one challenge per game during the 2019-20 season. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "NBA institutes coach challenges; 5 times one would have come in handy for Steve Kerr," 10 July 2019 Both lawmakers’ districts put a toe across the Jefferson County line, and under Alabama’s legislative rules, that makes them members of the delegation — and gives Republicans a delegation majority in a Democratic county. al.com, "With gerrymandering ruling, the Supreme Court could have saved democracy. It didn’t," 10 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Current district lines, like the census count itself, are based on total population regardless of citizenship, and the Supreme Court has not yet ruled that a citizen-only population count would be legal. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Trump drops census citizenship question, will draw data from federal agencies," 11 July 2019 The Byzantines, Romans, Greeks and Normans all have ruled Malta, leaving behind a wealth of temples and ancient sites. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "For Sale in Malta: A Path to EU Citizenship," 11 July 2019 The Supreme Court may have already ruled against it, but the fight for including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census is not over for President Donald Trump. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Can Trump Force the 2020 Citizenship Question by Executive Order?," 11 July 2019 The lower court had ruled for the plaintiffs—Republicans and Democrats who were blocked by Donald Trump. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A US federal appeals court affirmed that Trump can’t block critics on Twitter," 9 July 2019 This is the second time this year that a federal appeals court has ruled on a case involving social media interactions between a public official and constituents. Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News, "Trump can’t block people on Twitter, federal appeals court rules," 9 July 2019 The state Supreme Court has ruled that when agreeing to a plea deal, all sides are deemed to understand that the law can change in the future, and that the parties to the plea deal aren’t protected from those changes. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New legislation would ban move by San Diego DA requiring defendants to give up future rights in plea bargains," 3 July 2019 The Ohio Supreme Court has mostly ruled in favor of cities, citing the constitutional provision of Home Rule. Laura Hancock, cleveland.com, "Ohio cities to lose state funding for traffic camera tickets beginning Wednesday," 2 July 2019 The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that a city may not give out more to private sector companies than city taxpayers get in return. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "Your questions about Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Nike and the Goodyear plant deal, answered," 2 July 2019

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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Statistics for rule

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rule

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rule

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rule

Spanish Central: Translation of rule

Nglish: Translation of rule for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rule for Arabic Speakers

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