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 However, the ruling sidestepped whether terminally ill patients have a constitutional right to that aid. Time, "Getting a Prescription to Die Remains Tricky Even As Aid-in-Dying Bills Gain Momentum Across the U.S.," 29 Mar. 2021 Attorney Luke Nikas said the Warhol Foundation will challenge the ruling. Larry Neumeister, ajc, "US court sides with photographer in fight over Warhol art," 27 Mar. 2021 Under the ruling, Dehesa School District will repay the state $68,500 in five annual payments of $13,700, starting in the 2022-2023 school year, said Barbara Median, a spokeswoman with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Judge orders CA school districts to pay back oversight fees totaling $1 million," 27 Mar. 2021 The ruling raises new questions about why L.A. County prosecutors initially declined to charge Buck with a crime and then belatedly did so two years later after federal prosecutors built a case against him. Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, "Judge undercuts ex-D.A. Jackie Lacey’s initial decision not to charge Ed Buck in fatal overdose," 26 Mar. 2021 The ruling reversed a previous district court decision dismissing Meriwether's claims. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Appeals court rules for professor who refused to use transgender student's preferred pronouns," 26 Mar. 2021 In the Cady ruling, the Supreme Court described this exception in the context of automobile searches, where the justices have generally applied lower Fourth Amendment standards for practical reasons. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Obscure Supreme Court Case That Could Radically Redefine Police Powers," 26 Mar. 2021 Attorneys for the companies and the Michigan Attorney General's Office, which is representing the state defendants, had no immediate comment on the ruling. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, "Judge: Companies can be sued over Michigan unemployment fraud fiasco," 26 Mar. 2021 The ruling follows a five-year legal battle over the 3,000-acre portion of the WFC that was cleared for resettling people who were displaced after the country’s civil war. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cacao without deforestation? Land reform in Brazil bears fruit.," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Support for the ruling Liberal Party — the main conservative party in Australia — has been slowly declining among women for years, even before the assault allegations emerged, said Sarah Cameron, a lecturer in politics at the University of Sydney. Washington Post, "Facing fury over sex scandals, Australia’s leader fights tears — then retaliates in outburst at reporter," 23 Mar. 2021 For sure, most were looked down on as unworthy minorities for much of American history by the ruling Anglo-Saxon Protestants. WSJ, "Harvard and Favoring Some Ethnic Groups Over Others," 20 Nov. 2020 Just as the purveyors of apartheid did, the ruling African Nation Congress seems to often prioritize self-aggrandizement and neglect social development. Norma Young, Quartz Africa, "What Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought the US could learn from South Africa’s modern constitution," 23 Sep. 2020 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

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

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

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Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ruling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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