rul·​ing | \ ˈrü-liŋ How to pronounce ruling (audio) \

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

In most countries of the Arab Spring, the faces of the old order were removed, but either the ruling elite that had been behind them stayed in place or chaos ensued. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 Plakon said a federal court ruling that stemmed from a challenge to the Wisconsin law gave the green light to states treating public safety unions differently than teachers unions — and likely means the Florida lawsuit won’t be successful. Leslie Postal,, "New teachers union rules spark debate — and more dues-paying members," 12 July 2018 The administration argued in its announcement that its hands were tied by conflicting court rulings in New Mexico and Massachusetts. NBC News, "Trump administration takes another swipe at Obamacare," 9 July 2018 According to the Associated Press, Georgia election officials are now ordered not to certify the election before Friday, November 16, at 5:00 pm, due to Judge Totenberg’s ruling. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Georgia State Senator Nikema Williams Was Arrested During a Protest About Uncounted Votes in the Race Between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp," 14 Nov. 2018 Today’s Supreme Court ruling could further encourage fear and hatred among his followers. Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "17 Celebrities Who've Clapped Back at Donald Trump," 23 July 2018 Some legal experts believe the government could have a hard time convincing the appeals court to overturn Leon’s ruling. Marcy Gordon,, "Department of Justice appeals ruling that allowed AT&T-Time Warner merger," 12 July 2018 In Thursday’s ruling, the German high court of the state of Schleswig-Holstein also ruled that Mr. Puigdemont did not represent a flight risk and therefore should not be taken into police custody before being sent back to Spain. New York Times, "Ex-Catalonia Leader Can Be Extradited, but Not on the Charge Spain Wants," 12 July 2018 The government had claimed in its filings that Sabraw’s ruling trumped the Flores agreement. Brian Melley, USA TODAY, "Judge rejects request to detain immigrant children with their families long-term," 10 July 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

10 May 2019

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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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something valued as if it were money

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