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

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of ruling in a Sentence

Noun The decision overturns the Supreme Court's earlier ruling. She disputed the referee's ruling. Adjective members of the ruling class the ruling opinion on premarital sex
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After many years of legal proceedings and a non-jury trial, Judge Robert Oberbillig found Lund mentally competent in 2016, a ruling that Lund’s lawyers said was based on extensive testimony from mental health consultants and Lund’s own physicians. Bob Egelko,, "Disney heir fights judge, court for $200 million inheritance," 25 Mar. 2020 Hobby Lobby's devout Christian owners have made controversial moves in the past, including winning a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling exempting them from providing certain contraceptive coverage for employees. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Hobby Lobby open during coronavirus pandemic, even as other retailers close," 23 Mar. 2020 Early indications are that a similar ruling is expected for Division I athletes. Creg Stephenson |, al, "NCAA grants extra year of eligibility to Division 2 spring sports athletes," 20 Mar. 2020 Later on Tuesday, a judge of urgent matters in the southern town of Nabatiyeh issued a ruling preventing Fakhoury from leaving Lebanon for two months. NBC News, "Lebanese judge denied release of Lebanese-American accused of torture during war," 17 Mar. 2020 After a court ruling ended ownership’s shameful replacement-player gambit in 1995, teams fired up spring camps and rushed into the regular season with an April 27 start date. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "MLB's journey into the unknown: Here's how baseball's coronavirus-delayed season could play out," 12 Mar. 2020 The high court’s action, while not a final ruling, is a significant victory for the Trump administration and its hard-line policies on immigration and asylum. Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court keeps in place Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum constraints," 11 Mar. 2020 This week, following a ruling from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), his family can now bring an appeal to Scotland’s High Court of Judiciary. Fox News, "Family of Libyan terrorist involved in 1988 Pan Am bombing given go-ahead to appeal his conviction," 11 Mar. 2020 The state tried to force cities to follow its election schedule in 2012, but the Arizona Court of Appeals in 2014 upheld a lower court ruling in favor of charter cities and ruled that elections were local issues. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "Why does Tempe have a March election? And are its days numbered?," 9 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective It was released in several European countries in 1969 — the year it was nominated — but was banned under the ruling military junta in Greece and would not screen there until after the junta fell in 1974. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "These 10 Foreign Language Films Have Been Nominated for Best Picture," 10 Feb. 2020 She was awarded the prize in 1991, for leading the opposition to the ruling military junta and calling for a nonviolent transition to a democratic society., "THE HAGUE — In an extraordinary appearance at the International Court of Justice on Wednesday, Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, categorically rejected charges of genocide leveled against her country and maintained her government’s longstanding denial of culpability.," 12 Dec. 2019 Dave Sharma, a member of parliament for the ruling Liberal party and former Australian envoy to Israel told the Australian Parliament in October. Washington Post, "Drawn-out sex crimes case rattles Israel-Australia ties," 28 Dec. 2019 This dereliction of its duty is the result of how ruling-class parties have evolved in the neoliberal era. Ashley Smith, Harper's magazine, "Left of Europe," 16 Sep. 2019 Shinjiro Koizumi, the son of a former prime minister and a rising star within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was appointed environment minister. The Economist, "Politics this week," 12 Sep. 2019 However, if the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) retains it dominance, the election could result in a barely perceptible shift. James Griffiths, CNN, "Japan election: Surge of women candidates could reshape male-dominated parliament," 18 July 2019 The ruling Liberal-National Coalition had been divided and tossed out two prime ministers during its nearly six years in power. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Climate-Change Drubbing in Australia," 19 May 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for ruling

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ruling

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ruling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for ruling


How to pronounce ruling (audio)

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

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Spanish Central: Translation of ruling

Nglish: Translation of ruling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruling for Arabic Speakers

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