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

But the fate of at-risk species may now depend on those subtleties—and on interpretations of 46 years’ worth of court rulings. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Trump administration announces changes to Endangered Species Act rules," 13 Aug. 2019 Companies from luxury fashion brands to bubble tea shops are under pressure to distance themselves from protesters and declare their support for the ruling Communist Party's position on Hong Kong. Author: Yanan Wang, Christopher Bodeen, Anchorage Daily News, "Hong Kong airport shut down amid pro-democracy protest," 12 Aug. 2019 This summer’s protests in Hong Kong began in early June in opposition to legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the courts are controlled by the ruling Communist Party. Austin Ramzy,, "More than 150 flights canceled as Hong Kong airport is flooded by protesters," 12 Aug. 2019 That decision was originally challenged in court, but a Supreme Court ruling last month allowed the Trump administration to use military funding to pay for the wall. Gustavo Solis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New fence replaces decades old border wall in San Diego," 9 Aug. 2019 Others point to a consistent pattern of anti-Muslim rhetoric from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the underlying reason behind the decision, with economics used as a convenient front. Fortune, "What is Article 370?," 8 Aug. 2019 In the long list of enemies maintained by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of India (BJP), the Muslims of the northwestern state of Kashmir have always held a special place. Siddhartha Deb, The New Republic, "India’s Looming Ethno-Nationalist Catastrophe," 7 Aug. 2019 Of the 22 members of parliament (MPs) who discussed the bill, 15 belonged to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or its allies. Anish Gawande, Quartz India, "Transgender citizens: The other “integral part of India” that may have been shortchanged by its parliament," 6 Aug. 2019 May exits her role Wednesday, when Johnson begins his – following a vote by members of the ruling Conservative Party. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is like Trump. Only he isn't.," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 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

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

16 Aug 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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a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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