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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for rule

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To be clear, items like gun control, immigration reform, voting rights and police reform are dead in the Senate without a change in the filibuster rule, which is something that does not appear likely any time soon. BostonGlobe.com, "Why the next 100 days will define the Biden presidency more than the first 100 days," 29 Apr. 2021 Residents will no longer be required to wear masks at outdoor events with fewer than 1,000 people, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday in easing his rule to fight the spread of the coronavirus. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Burning Man, motel vaccinations, eviction law help: News from around our 50 states," 28 Apr. 2021 But rigid regulations remain the rule, not the exception. Sandeep Jauhar, WSJ, "The Crushing Burden of Healthcare Microregulation," 28 Apr. 2021 In the Nebraska school district, Superintendent Jorgensen said the district decided to eliminate its mask rule based on conditions in the area and in the state, which never had a statewide mask mandate. Carla K. Johnson, Star Tribune, "Outdoor mask guidance echoes what many Americans already do," 27 Apr. 2021 There was, however, one exception to their rule: the Food Network. Zaynab Issa, Bon Appétit, "TV Was Off-Limits During Ramadan, With One Exception," 27 Apr. 2021 In the capital, Caracas, Mr. Maduro still holds a firm grip on the major levers of power, and his military is still capable of responding with force to threats to his rule. New York Times, "Terrorist Group Steps Into Venezuela as Lawlessness Grows," 26 Apr. 2021 With its no-Zoom rule the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the professional association that puts on the Oscars, likely hoped to avoid a repeat of all of that—and not just by submitting its most diverse nominations ever. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Even the Oscars are sick of Zoom," 26 Apr. 2021 The Department of Transportation issued a rule barring any state from setting its own car pollution standards — a regulation that the Biden administration took steps to repeal last week. Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, "EPA to restore California’s power over car pollution rules, reversing Trump," 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The case could be brought before an administrative law judge and then appealed to the NLRB’s five-member national board, which could rule that a new election must take place. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Union challenges Amazon’s win in Alabama labor election and calls for new election," 19 Apr. 2021 By various estimates, about two-thirds of police officers who were fired returned to the force: They were either reinstated by the police chief or by independent arbitrators, who hear and rule on officers’ appeals. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "Would Prop B hold San Antonio police accountable or defund them? Both arguments are a stretch," 18 Apr. 2021 Filing a rent escrow action may not be a successful option in this case, since a judge would most likely rule against you, due to smoking being allowed in the building. Kelly Klein, Star Tribune, "Renter is sick of neighbors' smoking," 16 Apr. 2021 In Michigan, the Trump campaign filed multiple lawsuits but withdrew them before a court could rule on the merits. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan AG Dana Nessel using Sidney Powell's words against her in pursuit of sanctions," 7 Apr. 2021 Some legal experts had hoped the court would rule definitively that APIs, which tell a program what to do, but not how to do it, wouldn't be protected by copyrights at all. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Why the Supreme Court’s ruling for Google over Oracle is a win for innovation," 5 Apr. 2021 Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough could rule as early as Friday on whether to allow for another budget reconciliation bill this year, a Senate aide told CBS News. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Schumer mulls obscure procedural maneuver to pass Biden's infrastructure bill," 2 Apr. 2021 Environmental advocates such as the Hoosier Environmental Council would like to see an addition to the bill asserting that county governments could rule what the ground cover under new solar farms could be. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "After local pushback, bill on wind, solar standards takes a '180 degree turn'," 2 Apr. 2021 In 2017 his handpicked constitutional court declared that Bolivian presidents can rule for life. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Rewriting History in Bolivia—and Mexico," 28 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rule

Time Traveler for rule

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rule

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rule. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up rule? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!