rul·er | \ˈrü-lər \

Definition of ruler 

1 : one that rules specifically : sovereign

2 : a worker or a machine that rules paper

3 : a smooth-edged strip (as of wood or metal) that is usually marked off in units (such as inches) and is used as a straightedge or for measuring

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Other Words from ruler

rulership \ˈrü-lər-ˌship \ noun

Examples of ruler in a Sentence

a summit attended by a number of rulers from around the world This ruler shows inches and centimeters.

Recent Examples on the Web

Very little seems to unite Americans these days—except, apparently, their enjoyment in fawning over the rulers the Founding Fathers waged war to overthrow. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Donald Trump, Meghan Markle, and America’s enduring obsession with the British royals," 12 July 2018 Any peace plan would face major obstacles, including the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, internal Palestinian divisions, and recent cross-border violence between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel. Ilan Ben Zion,, "Kushner rips Abbas, says Mideast peace plan due 'soon'," 24 June 2018 The soaring Burj Dubai tower was renamed Burj Khalifa in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi—a reminder that Abu Dhabi now calls the shots. The Economist, "Do buyHow Dubai became a model for free trade, openness and ambition," 21 June 2018 This saw has a 21-inch blade and folds down to the size of a ruler when not in use. Emily Reed, Outside Online, "Why I Love Collapsible Camping Gear," 18 June 2018 Modi accused Gandhi of nepotism, and having no other qualifications other than the fact that he was born to a family of previous Indian rulers. Swati Gupta, CNN, "Modi's ruling party on set to win in crucial India state poll," 15 May 2018 Monday marked the biggest showdown in years between Israel's military and Gaza's Hamas rulers along the volatile border. Fares Akram And Josef Federman, Houston Chronicle, "58 dead in Gaza protests as Israel fetes US Embassy move," 14 May 2018 Perhaps as an escape from these oppressive restrictions, Empress Dowager Cixi (pronounced TSIH-shee), the de facto ruler of China in the final decades of the imperial dynasty, rebuilt a fantastic wonderland, the Summer Palace. New York Times, "Was This Powerful Chinese Empress a Feminist Trailblazer?," 10 July 2018 Thor and Loki get stranded on a world weird enough that Jeff Goldblum is its ruler. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "We rank every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from worst to best," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ruler.' 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 ruler

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for ruler

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for ruler

The first known use of ruler was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ruler



English Language Learners Definition of ruler

: a person (such as a king or queen) who rules a country, area, group, etc.

: a straight piece of plastic, wood, or metal that has marks on it to show units of length and that is used to measure things


rul·er | \ˈrü-lər \

Kids Definition of ruler

1 : a person (as a king or queen) having supreme power over a nation

2 : a straight strip (as of plastic, wood, or metal) with a smooth edge that is marked off in units and used for measuring or as a guide in drawing straight lines

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruler

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruler

Spanish Central: Translation of ruler

Nglish: Translation of ruler for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruler for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ruler

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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