rul·​ing | \ ˈrü-liŋ \

Definition of ruling 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: an official or authoritative decision, decree, statement, or interpretation (as by a judge on a point of law)



Definition of ruling (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : exerting power or authority the ruling party
b : chief, predominating a ruling passion
2 : generally prevailing

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ruling

Synonyms: Noun

doom, finding, holding, judgment (or judgement), sentence

Synonyms: Adjective

common, general, majority, overall, popular, prevailing, public, received, vulgar

Antonyms: Adjective

uncommon, unpopular

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Examples of ruling in a Sentence


The decision overturns the Supreme Court's earlier ruling. She disputed the referee's ruling.


members of the ruling class the ruling opinion on premarital sex
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The ruling Awami League won a landslide victory in 2014 after Ms. Zia’s opposition BNP boycotted the vote over a disagreement about how the election should be managed. Corinne Abrams, WSJ, "Bangladesh Leader Wins Third Term Amid Reports of Violence, Intimidation," 31 Dec. 2018 Newer devices, like the iPhone XS and XR, are unaffected by the ruling, and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 will still be available from third-party sellers and carriers as well. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple will pull older iPhones from its German stores after Qualcomm wins partial ban," 20 Dec. 2018 The injunction was stayed, and a year later the original ruling was vacated. Lee Server, Town & Country, "The Real Reason Frank Sinatra Was Banned from the Kennedy White House," 7 Nov. 2018 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin issued the ruling after turning down a request from Avenatti to have the matter moved to federal court, which the opposing side called a delay tactic. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Michael Avenatti ordered by judge to hand over $4.85 million in back pay to attorney at his former law firm," 23 Oct. 2018 Even the small suspensions handed out to Jameis Winston and the Eagles’ Nigel Bradham were brief, one-day stories and neither player indicated the ruling of the commissioner would be challenged. Bob Ford,, "What will the NFL do about Shady McCoy? | Bob Ford," 12 July 2018 The ruling on the Nixon tapes sits in memory as a stunning fulfillment of the Supreme Court’s avowed aspirations to political neutrality. Dan Rodricks,, "Is Kavanaugh Trump's 'Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card'?," 10 July 2018 Now, opponents to the ruling could argue that Britain can avoid that outcome by simply reversing its decision to leave the EU. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "U.K. Can Cancel Brexit, Confirms EU Court," 10 Dec. 2018 South Korean President Moon Jae-in had no immediate reaction to the ruling. Kim Tong-hyung, The Seattle Times, "Court orders Japan company to pay 4 Koreans for forced labor," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her decision to relinquish the post comes after a bruising week for the ruling Liberal-National coalition government. James Glynn, WSJ, "Australia’s Conservative Infighting Claims Another Victim," 26 Aug. 2018 His announcement comes as Peter Dutton, a populist who has campaigned on border protection, canvasses colleagues within the ruling Liberal Party—the country’s main conservative bloc—in his second attempt in a week to unseat Mr. Turnbull. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "Malcolm Turnbull Poised to Step Down as Australia’s Leader," 23 Aug. 2018 Photo: Reuters The operation’s success provides a lift for a ruling military junta that has long been criticized for repeatedly putting off elections following a 2014 coup. Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "All 12 Boys and Their Soccer Coach Rescued From Thai Cave," 10 July 2018 The ruling Baath party claims to represent all of Syria’s religions and sects. The Economist, "How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria," 28 June 2018 As prices soared and gas lines stretched, Brazilians united in a shared hatred of the ruling political class. Marina Lopes, Washington Post, "Brazilian leader bows to truckers' demands but strike continues to cause chaos," 28 May 2018 Charismatic and fiery, Pashinyan had convinced some lawmakers from the ruling Republican Party to cross party lines and vote for him — something unthinkable just a short while ago. Washington Post, "Armenia’s opposition leader named prime minister, and his supporters erupt in cheers," 12 May 2018 Charismatic and fiery, Pashinyan had convinced some lawmakers from the ruling Republican Party to cross party lines and vote for him — something unthinkable just a short while ago. Washington Post,, "Armenian Parliament elects opposition leader as prime minister," 8 May 2018 Charismatic and fiery, Pashinyan had convinced some lawmakers from the ruling Republican Party to cross party lines and vote for him — something unthinkable just a short while ago. Washington Post, "Armenian parliament elects opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister," 8 May 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for ruling

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ruling

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

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More Definitions for ruling



English Language Learners Definition of ruling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an official decision made by a judge, referee, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of ruling (Entry 2 of 2)

: having control and power over a country, area, group, etc.


rul·​ing | \ ˈrü-liŋ\

Kids Definition of ruling

: an official decision (as by a judge)



Legal Definition of ruling 

: an official or authoritative determination, decree, statement, or interpretation (as by a judge on a question of law) followed a previous ruling on the same question — see also revenue ruling — compare decision, disposition, finding, holding, judgment, opinion, verdict

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruling

Spanish Central: Translation of ruling

Nglish: Translation of ruling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ruling

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involving abstract or general statements

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