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

That’s what happens when Oregon election watchdogs investigate potential violations of campaign laws -- the rules that govern the running of races and the spending of tens of millions of dollars seeking to wield influence. oregonlive, "Case Closed: In Oregon campaign investigations, ‘I did not’ is all it takes," 17 Sep. 2019 The brothers stand out as the only white children among the Native Americans at the school, where Odie is the rebel while Albert tries to go by the rules. Oline Cogdill, sun-sentinel.com, "Book review: ‘This Tender Land’ a harrowing Depression-era coming-of-age tale," 16 Sep. 2019 Just simply being at the table doesn’t mean that the rules change. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019 The agency is considering new rules on how biosolids – solid material left over from wastewater treatment operations and chicken processing plants – can be used as a fertilizer. USA TODAY, "Fugitive pig, proverb library, sodium warnings: News from around our 50 states," 16 Sep. 2019 The rules can be complicated, based on age, marital status, remarriage, and other factors. San Diego Union-Tribune, "17 ways to get more from Social Security," 16 Sep. 2019 Accordingly, none of them qualified for a victory under baseball’s rules. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Don't look now but Brewers manager Craig Counsell is 'bullpening' games again this September," 13 Sep. 2019 Computers are beating us at our own game by playing by different rules. Quanta Magazine, "Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?," 17 Sep. 2019 But with so many companies operating with different rules in contiguous municipalities, the consequences are sometimes perplexing. Los Angeles Times, "Did your rented e-scooter suddenly shut down? Blame the invisible geofence," 17 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The main national opposition is the Congress Party, which has ruled India for most of its independent history and is led by Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Washington Post, "Your Guide to India’s Upcoming General Election," 18 Sep. 2019 The first is Apple’s challenge to the EU antitrust ruling that forced it to pay Ireland some $15 billion in back taxes. David Meyer, Fortune, "The Markets’ Fed Bet: CEO Daily," 17 Sep. 2019 The suit is similar to one playing out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where judges ruled a man could challenge gun ordinances in court. cleveland.com, "UAW, GM resume talks amid nationwide auto worker strike: The Flyover," 17 Sep. 2019 With Hollywood’s Bleeding (Universal) bowing atop the ARIA Albums Chart, Post Malone scoops a second chart title after Beerbongs & Bentleys, which ruled the survey in May 2018. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Tones And I Equals Kylie Minogue's Chart Record In Australia," 16 Sep. 2019 In a statement, the lawyers for the victims said the chief accomplishment in the case was the judge’s earlier ruling that the victims’ rights had been violated by the non-prosecution agreement. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "Florida Judge Denies Bid by Epstein Victims to Nullify Non-Prosecution Deal," 16 Sep. 2019 The court convicted the couple of using fake passports but allowed them to stay in the country, ruling that the political nature of their skyjacking meant the crime didn’t qualify for extradition. oregonlive, "How Coos Bay’s ‘All-American girl’ became a daring skyjacker, then disappeared into 1970s underground," 16 Sep. 2019 The Bears finally broke through with the game’s first touchdown three players later as tailback David Montgomery was ruled to have broken the plane on dive over the pile, pushing the Chicago lead to 12-3 before the extra point. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Broncos comeback kicked aside by Bears in Denver’s first home opener loss since 2011," 15 Sep. 2019 The senator responsible for the proposal, Katrin Lompscher from Die Linke, the party descended from East Germany’s ruling political force, was born in 1962, a year after the Berlin Wall went up. Leonid Bershidsky, Twin Cities, "Leonid Bershidsky: Berlin’s rent cap is a case of communist amnesia," 13 Sep. 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

7 Oct 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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