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 approvalfor 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 Furtive, rule-flouting nightclubs are operating using mass text messages and secret passwords, with little intervention by law enforcement. Tony Barboza Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: The post-holiday surge is afoot," 6 Jan. 2021 As David Daley noted in his November feature for this magazine on Republican minority rule, those companies have made direct financial contributions to the party’s assault on the democratic process. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Corporations Funding the End of Democracy," 6 Jan. 2021 Queen Elizabeth II offers to restore British rule over the United States. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, "Trump Claims Constitution Invalid Because It Was Signed by Dead People," 5 Jan. 2021 Johnson, who tested positive on Saturday, is likely out, but others, including Ward, have a chance to be back based on the 10-day rule. cleveland, "Why Kevin Stefanski can’t help coach virtually vs. the Steelers, and other Browns COVID-19 things you need to know," 5 Jan. 2021 Wheeler, however, has said the rule is meant to ensure there is greater transparency around the science the EPA uses to set pollution limits. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: The lawmakers who will shape energy and climate battles in 2021," 4 Jan. 2021 The report did, however, note that lifting the rule could foster more competition, potentially lowering airfares on some long-distance routes. Washington Post, "GAO study examines impact of long-distance flight limits at National Airport," 4 Jan. 2021 Amid a flourish of pronouncements about transparency and government reform, two years ago the Speaker angered Rep. Ocasio-Cortez with the re-imposition of a House rule purporting to require that new spending be offset by budget savings elsewhere. James Freeman, WSJ, "The Pelosi Rules," 4 Jan. 2021 Under Napoleon’s rule, the French occupied Venice and proceeded to loot it, damaging parts of the city including the Venetian Arsenal—and destroying many of the bocche di leone. Kasia Dietz, Travel, "Need to complain? Here’s how Renaissance-era Venetians did it," 4 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb An appellate court reversed that ruling, and now the state’s highest court will rule on a license that’s likely worth millions of dollars. Sarah Freishtat, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois Supreme Court to decide fate of last contested medical marijuana growing license in the state," 30 Dec. 2020 It's predicted that the court won't rule until spring 2021 at the earliest. Winston Gieseke, USA TODAY, "In California: State sees jump in COVID cases and election parties aren't helping," 10 Nov. 2020 Last week the army and police raided his headquarters, and on Wednesday a judge will rule in a case challenging his leadership of his party, the National Unity Platform (NUP). Liam Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "'People Power' in Uganda: The lawyer promoting a pop-star candidate," 20 Oct. 2020 The Marion County coroner's office ruled Jeremiah's death a homicide and will rule Jones' death a suicide, IMPD said in a news release. Vic Ryckaert, The Indianapolis Star, "IMPD: Mother set west-side apartment fire that killed son and herself," 9 Oct. 2020 Cornyn is expected to vote to confirm Coney Barrett, but not even experts know how the Supreme Court will rule on the case, and to extent that decision would affect Americans' health care. Elizabeth Thompson, Dallas News, "What you need to know about Cornyn and the Affordable Care Act," 9 Oct. 2020 How Barrett will rule on that question likely plays to Biden’s strengths, with many voters who lost their jobs during the pandemic worried about health coverage. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Biden poised to attack Trump on his handling of the pandemic and Obamacare," 29 Sep. 2020 That injunction is what Nichols will rule on this Sunday, unless the administration agrees to postpone the ban. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Judge gives Trump admin. Friday deadline to delay or defend TikTok ban," 24 Sep. 2020 The jury will decide all three felony counts, while Waldron, the judge, will rule on the misdemeanor charge. John Simerman, NOLA.com, "Women testify St. John Parish judge smeared vapor rub, tanning lotion on them as teens," 10 Sep. 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rule. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for rule

rule

noun
How to pronounce rule (audio)

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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Comments on rule

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