rule

noun
\ ˈrül \

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

Williams spent a lot of her 2018 making huge strides for women athletes by speaking about sexism, sharing candid stories about motherhood, and even—successfully—challenging the rules of fashion in tennis. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Serena Williams Calls Roger Federer the 'Greatest of All Time' After Historic Tennis Match," 1 Jan. 2019 For full rules and instruction on how to enter, visit DWR's website. Lindsey Ramsey, House Beautiful, "Look At These Adorable Chairs Made Out Of Champagne Corks," 22 Dec. 2018 What are the rules of the world of the universe? Where does religion play into this? Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Black Panther Breakout Winston Duke Is Ready to Reset Hollywood," 4 Dec. 2018 These kind of closing are viewed as a one-off exception to the rule of prosperity. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "When towns lose a factory, what comes next?," 29 Nov. 2018 How to Grow Herbs As a general rule of (green) thumb, place your herbs in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun daily. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "10 Herbs You Can Grow Indoors Year-Round," 21 Nov. 2018 While there is no national law regarding punishment if proper decorum is not observed during the playing of the Anthem, there are established rules of conduct. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "National Anthem Etiquette: How to Properly Honor 'The Star-Spangled Banner'," 5 Nov. 2018 The English language is also famously idiosyncratic, with plenty of exceptions to the rules. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Worcester Is Reviving, but People Still Can’t Spell It (Forget the Pronunciation)," 19 Dec. 2018 And as previously mentioned, zoning laws in your area may have rules regarding the amount of land that can be covered by a structure. Christine Coppa, Country Living, "'Granny Pods' Allow Elderly Family Members to Live in a High-Tech Backyard Cottage," 13 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Only two of the court’s nine justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, said anything during arguments that suggested they are inclined to rule against Merck. Jessica Gresko, The Seattle Times, "High court seems likely to side with Merck in Fosamax case," 7 Jan. 2019 Aristocratic and born to rule, Aragorn is inherently noble, and brings stability and unity to his realm mainly by possessing heroic qualities. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 But even with all this going on, the excitement over Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse seemed to rule 2018 in animation. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse directors on the film’s gorgeous style," 17 Dec. 2018 The judge overseeing the case rejected motions from both sides Friday asking to rule on their behalf. Fox News, "Harvard discrimination lawsuit officially headed to trial," 28 Sep. 2018 The iron triangle that rules armored vehicle design is firepower, protection, and strategic and tactical mobility. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Army’s Next 'Tank' Could Look Like Anything," 11 Oct. 2018 Temple freshman Richard Dalcourt died after falling from a sixth-floor dorm last October, and Drexel student Stevens Glemaud’s death was ruled a suicide after his body was found in the Schuylkill in 2012. Aneri Pattani, Philly.com, "College students train to help peers at risk for suicide, depression and more," 10 July 2018 In a country like ours, where education is ruled by the government and there are no alternatives, teaching a child something that is contrary to their faith is a violation of free will. Mario J. Pentón, miamiherald, "Gay marriage does not fit in a Communist country, Cuban Evangilicals say," 8 July 2018 This movie is going to rule and Timmy as Atreides is going to be legitimately iconic. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, October 5 Edition," 5 Oct. 2018

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

13 Jan 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 \

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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