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

As a direct heir to the throne, Prince William has a different set of rules to follow than Prince Harry, who, though the son of the future King of England, will likely not sit on the throne. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Meghan & Harry's Birth Announcement Compares to William & Kate's," 6 May 2019 Though the style technically encompasses English Colonial, French Colonial, Spanish Colonial, Dutch Colonial, and Georgian styles, American Colonial is most similar to English Colonial, due to the prolonged length of British rule in America. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Here’s Why Colonial-Style Homes Reign Supreme," 2 May 2019 Photographers, painters, even filmmakers documented the viral opening in compliance with some of the tower's unique rules: It can't be drawn in permanent marker and all photos belong to Hudson Yards, not the photographer. House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About Hudson Yards, New York's $25 Billion Neighborhood," 19 Mar. 2019 There's Crashing, which follows the lives of six people living together as property guardians of a hospital that's out of use, exchanging cheap rent and an absurd set of strict rules for keeping the building safe. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "8 TV Shows Like 'Killing Eve' to Binge If You Can't Wait for Season 2," 17 Jan. 2019 However, a quick scan of the contest's rules includes no mention of contestants agreeing to any sort of ongoing filmed content as part of the contest (especially since most of the three-month period will be spent in participants' home cities). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Pokémon Go creators launch AR-game contest that (nearly) resembles American Idol," 21 Dec. 2018 As Kirby, your quest comes in the form of a series of battles, each one with a different set of rules. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s spirits mode turns Nintendo’s fighter into an RPG," 6 Dec. 2018 The move was an effort to help clients save money and better compete with newer agencies that don’t need to abide by union rules, the agency said at the time. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Ad Industry and Commercial Actors Union Agree on New Contract," 17 Apr. 2019 The South rules: 46 percent of the honorees are from the South; 26 percent are from the West; 25 percent are from the Northeast; and three percent are from the Midwest. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "How the Salonnière List of the Best Party Hosts in America Is Put Together," 21 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Intel’s vision of one cable to rule them all was suspect when Intel announced Thunderbolt in 2015—in part because that was supposed to be USB’s role. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "The new USB4 spec promises a lot: Thunderbolt 3 support, 40Gbps bandwidth, and less confusion," 5 Mar. 2019 But the financial aspect of the new plan is similar to the consent decree from the summer, which was later thrown out by a judge who ruled it didn’t go far enough to make major fixes. ... Katie Honan And Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "N.Y.C.’s Troubled Housing Authority to Go Under Federal Monitor," 31 Jan. 2019 One console to rule them all Amazon Outpost may be a beachhead for AWS taking on an even greater role in managing the entirety of Amazon customers' infrastructure. Jason Levitt And Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Amazon Web Services aims to colonize your network with Outpost," 12 Dec. 2018 To put all of that into context, The Mad King ruled Westeros before Robert Baratheon. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "How Are Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen Related?," 15 Apr. 2019 The appeal was filed after a Kittitas County Superior Court judge ruled Yakima County was within its legal authority to establish and enforce the ban. The Yakima Herald-republic, The Seattle Times, "Uprooting cannabis: Officials stepping up enforcement of ban on recreational marijuana businesses," 13 Apr. 2019 The death was ruled accidental by the Los Angeles police and coroner. Eleanor Hildebrandt, Popular Mechanics, "The True Story of the Lost Sci-Fi Movie "Brainstorm," Natalie Wood’s Last Film," 21 Dec. 2018 Someone with a Sagittarius Ascendant, for instance, is ruled by generous Jupiter, whereas a Pisces Ascendant is living in a Neptunian world. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 The Justice Department had 60 days to file an appeal after US District Judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of AT&T and Time Warner on June 12th. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Why yesterday’s AT&T and Time Warner merger appeal matters — and why it’s a long shot," 13 July 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

19 May 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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