rul·​er | \ ˈrü-lər How to pronounce ruler (audio) \

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 How to pronounce rulership (audio) \ 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

The sometimes explicit corollary was that white people were the natural rulers of the globe. Kainaz Amaria, Vox, "National Geographic’s November cover falls back on a racist cliché," 1 Nov. 2018 Next spring, for the first time in the country’s history, Emperor Akihito, now 84, will abdicate his throne instead of finishing out his remaining days as Japan’s ruler. Noor Brara, Vogue, "All For Love: Japan’s Princess Ayako Weds Kei Moriya," 29 Oct. 2018 Do American Christians view God more as an almighty ruler or a loving creator? Josh Hafner, USA TODAY, "What's God look like? Depends on your politics and race, study finds," 12 June 2018 On October 1, 1878, exasperated laborers on the Caribbean island of St. Croix set fire to houses, sugar mills and around 50 plantations while protesting oppressive working conditions enforced by Danish colonial rulers. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "New Statue Immortalizes Mary Thomas, Who Led a Revolt Against Danish Colonial Rule," 5 Apr. 2018 The widespread security issues pose a major challenge to Buhari, a Muslim former military ruler who won office in a democratic transfer of power in 2015, as elections approach next year. Fox News, "Nigeria: 'Deeply unfortunate killings' as 86 reported dead," 25 June 2018 Calling out Maduro on his legitimacy as a ruler may also embolden his domestic opponents. The Christian Science Monitor, "The power of truth-telling about Venezuela," 8 June 2018 The once-triumphant ruler, in the guise of a Roman emperor, lies supine in the street as the revolutionaries of the Paris Commune pose over their destructive handiwork. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘MONUMENTality’ Review: How the Mighty Have Fallen," 26 Dec. 2018 Samar Badawi is a longtime women’s rights advocate and has been targeted by previous Saudi rulers, although never as aggressively as in the past year, Coogle said. Kevin Sullivan, The Seattle Times, "Khashoggi death throws new light on Saudi prince’s crackdown on dissent," 23 Oct. 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

14 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce ruler (audio) \

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

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the range of authority or knowledge

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