There are 2 definitions of rule in English:

rule1

Line breaks: rule
Pronunciation: /ruːl
 
/

noun

1One of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct or procedure within a particular area of activity: the rules of cricket those who did break the rules would be dealt with swiftly
More example sentences
  • One can demonstrate to skeptics the explicit rules which govern a skill, or a game, but not those which govern an art.
  • He said he did not understand the document explaining rules and procedures for taxi drivers from the council.
  • These managers rode roughshod over the rules that govern corporate activity and betrayed the trust of the investors.
Synonyms
regulation, ruling, directive, order, court order, act, law, by-law, statute, edict, canon, ordinance, pronouncement, mandate, command, dictate, dictum, decree, fiat, proclamation, injunction, commandment, prescription, stipulation, requirement, precept, guideline, direction; in Tsarist Russiaukase; in Spain & Spanish-speaking countriespronunciamento
1.1A principle that operates within a particular sphere of knowledge, describing or prescribing what is possible or allowable: the rules of grammar
More example sentences
  • Silicon Valley is still operating under the rules and values I described nearly three years ago.
  • It is a descriptive fact that some people do eat peas with a knife, just as many speakers of English do not follow the rules of prescriptive grammars.
  • To get through it unscathed, we all have to play by our own rules as much as possible.
Synonyms
precept, principle, standard, axiom, truth, truism, maxim, aphorism
1.2A code of practice and discipline for a religious order or community: the Rule of St Benedict
More example sentences
  • New-style communities based on a rule, first provided by St Augustine of Hippo, but refined and made more austere at the end of the eleventh century, emerged.
  • Toward the end of his life, Benedict drew up his rule for this community.
  • Benedict drew up a rule for the monastic communities which were based on needs and functions.
2 [mass noun] Control of or dominion over an area or people: the revolution brought an end to British rule
More example sentences
  • It puts the Republicans in a strange position, because they are in favor of local control and local rule, and here it is on television, local democracy in action.
  • During its sixty years of colonial rule, Britain controlled the population by fomenting regional and ethnic divisions.
  • Lasting only ten months before Spain resumed control, Britain's rule was of short duration.
Synonyms
3 (the rule) The normal or customary state of things: such accidents are the exception rather than the rule
More example sentences
  • It's become the norm rather than the rule, and it does nothing to enhance the credibility of the medical profession.
  • Starvation is mercifully the exception rather than the rule - when it still exists, it is the result of social inequality rather than an absolute failure to produce food.
  • There was a time, decades ago, when third-level education was the exception rather than the rule in Irish society; that is no longer the case.
Synonyms
procedure, practice, protocol, convention, standard, norm, form, routine, custom, habit, wont
formal praxis
4A strip of wood or other rigid material used for measuring length or marking straight lines; a ruler.
More example sentences
  • The plastic template contains rules, measures and a hole-punching guide.
  • Bench rules were often made of maple, log and board rules of hickory, and blacksmith's rules and counter measures of brass.
  • When there are bubbles, cut into the veneer with a sharp razor blade using a steel rule for guidance.
4.1A thin printed line or dash.
More example sentences
  • In accordance with guidelines for advertising labeling in print newspapers, a thin black rule was placed just after the sponsorship.
5 (Rules) Australian short for Australian Rules.

verb

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1 [with object] Exercise ultimate power or authority over (an area and its people): Latin America today is ruled by elected politicians [no object]: the period in which Spain ruled over Portugal
More example sentences
  • Previous governments had ended quickly and violently, the people wanted to be ruled over by a single capable man.
  • But the Ruthenians of Galicia had no wish to be ruled over by Poles and drew close to the Czechs in defence of Austro-Slavism.
  • Ancient Egypt declined, was overrun and thereafter ruled by foreign powers.
Synonyms
govern, preside over, control, have control of, be in control of, lead, be the leader of, dominate, run, head, direct, administer, manage, regulate
literary sway
be in power, be in control, hold sway, be in authority, be in command, be in charge, govern, be at the helm; reign, sit on the throne, wear the crown, wield the sceptre, be monarch, be sovereign
1.1(Of a feeling) have a powerful and restricting influence on: her whole life seemed to be ruled by fear
More example sentences
  • There are times when you'll have every right to be angry, but you should never let that emotion rule you, or guide you.
  • Embarrassment and anger ruled her actions now.
  • Essentially, nobody knew what was going on, and emotions were ruling some heads that should have been kept cooler.
1.2 [no object] Be a dominant or powerful factor: [with complement]: the black market rules supreme
More example sentences
  • Even in India, its birthplace, where it has been ruling supreme for the last 3,000 years, it has not been able to permeate the masses.
  • National Hunt racing rules supreme in this country.
  • But if you visit The Venue on other than a weekend night, when music rules supreme, you will find though that there is more to this pub than just music.
Synonyms
prevail, obtain, be the order of the day, predominate, hold sway, be supreme
1.3 [no object] informal Be very good or the best: Jackie tells me about Hanna’s newest band, and says that it absolutely rules
More example sentences
  • This band rules, but it's a good prediction that the vocalist will ruin it.
  • This film rules! It has the coolest zombies I have ever seen!
1.4 Astrology (Of a planet) have a particular influence over (a sign of the zodiac, house, etc.): the tenth House, ruled by Saturn and associated with Capricorn
More example sentences
  • The moon rules my sign, maybe this is why I'm a night owl.
  • Aries and Scorpio were ruled by the same planet, which was Mars, the war-god of passion, activity, and courage.
  • The first sign in the Zodiac, you're ruled by Mars, the action planet, and are a natural leader and innovator.
2 [with clause] Pronounce authoritatively and legally to be the case: an industrial tribunal ruled that he was unfairly dismissed from his job
More example sentences
  • Nearly simultaneously, however, a federal district court ruled that an Ohio city could be sued for discriminatory effects.
  • A state appellate court ruled that federal law pre-empted the state claims.
  • In a case decided in 1950 the Brussels Court Martial had already ruled that torture in time of armed conflict was prohibited by a customary international law rule.
Synonyms
decree, order, direct, pronounce, make a judgement, judge, adjudge, adjudicate, lay down, ordain; decide, find, determine, resolve, settle, establish, hold
3 [with object] Make parallel lines across (paper): (as adjective ruled) a sheet of ruled paper
More example sentences
  • Written on ruled paper, the letter was found in a pile of papers at the Greens's home in Gloucestershire.
  • A workhorse of a machine was busy feeding a swath of yellow paper from one of these rolls, mechanically ruling the paper with calibrated pins dipped in blue ink.
  • Robin got a map from the Land Office with a lot of lines ruled on it, from which the position of our holding could be deduced.
4 [no object, with adverbial] (Of a price or a traded commodity with regard to its price) have a specified general level or strength: in the jutes section Indus and Pak Jute ruled firm
More example sentences
  • There were large numbers of horses of various kinds at the Stow-on-the-Wold October Fair, but very little trade, prices ruling low.
  • The cherry crop was immense, and despite the abundance of this fruit the prices ruled high.
  • In difficult years, when the crop fell short of expectations and market prices ruled high, the majority of consumers in this poor country were unable to afford the market price prevailing for essential foodgrains.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French reule (noun), reuler (verb), from late Latin regulare, from Latin regula 'straight stick'.

Phrases

as a rule

Usually, but not always: any architect knows that, as a rule, old buildings are more soundly built than new ones
More example sentences
  • Again, Aristotle's notion of the goal of tragedy is odd: do tragedies always, or even as a rule, purge their audience of pity and fear?
  • Most men wear pleated trousers, which as a rule, should always have cuffs.
  • Action thrillers contain lots of twists and turns as a rule, usually of a kind we have all seen a dozen times before.
Synonyms

by rule

In a regular manner according to a particular set of rules: stress is not predictable by rule and must be learned word by word
More example sentences
  • Is the phenomenon confined to the diocesan or secular clergy or has it also touched the regulars, men who live by rule and vow?
  • The interval lasted about ten minutes longer than the quarter-hour allowed by rule, courtesy of a late return to the field by Kerry.
  • Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling, instinct, not by rule.

make it a rule to do something

Have it as a habit or general principle to do something: I make it a rule never to mix business with pleasure
More example sentences
  • I made it a rule to put down in writing, after every conversation, what had taken place.
  • I've now made it a rule to take care of at least one niggling work-related task each day.
  • Asked if he ever stopped, he answered that he and Ljubica tried to make it a rule to do so by ten o'clock at night, having begun more than twelve hours before.

rule of law

The restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws: when military dictators fall, the democrats who follow them must try to restore the rule of law
More example sentences
  • The Prime Minister overrides the rule of law and declares a coroner's enquiry unnecessary.
  • That decision demonstrated that this country upholds the rule of law and basic human rights.
  • It is a fundamental requisite of the rule of law that the law should be made known.

rule of the road

A custom or law regulating the direction in which two vehicles (or riders or ships) should move to pass one another on meeting, or which should give way to the other, so as to avoid collision.
More example sentences
  • Free brochures are available on children's safety, life jackets, rules of the road, weather, hypothermia, and alcohol and boating.
  • While it's a necessity to educate and encourage drivers of vehicles to obey the rules of the road, I wish the campaign would include the inconsiderate pedestrian.
  • Cmdr Orchard said he was trying to get the message across that people need to slow down and obey the rules of the road.

rule of thumb

A broadly accurate guide or principle, based on practice rather than theory: a useful rule of thumb is that about ten hours will be needed to analyse each hour of recorded data
More example sentences
  • I want to suggest that this is in fact a rather useful rule of thumb for linguists and philologists.
  • Given that forecasts were so inaccurate, I thought it might be preferable to rely on projections based on simple rules of thumb.
  • A widely adopted rule of thumb in crystallisation theory is that better crystals can be obtained using programmed cooling.

rule the roost

Be in complete control: in this particular society men rule the roost and women have a low status and few rights
More example sentences
  • Rather than a progressive process that inevitably led to Homo sapiens ruling the roost, Gee persuades the reader that evolution is based upon a random selection.
  • Women don't need protection nowadays - they're the ones ruling the roost.
  • Before you know it we will be ruling the roost again.

run the rule over

British Examine cursorily for correctness or adequacy: he had the chance to run the rule over the Brazil team
More example sentences
  • Emily Bell runs the rule over who should be the new chairman of the BBC
  • York City manager Terry Dolan took an additional chance to run the rule over his new charges this afternoon.
  • After some big surprises in the nominations, Jessica Winter runs the rule over this year's hopefuls

Phrasal verbs

rule something out (or in)

Exclude (or include) something as a possibility: the prime minister ruled out a November election
More example sentences
  • They are happy as long as I give it a try, give it my best before absolutely ruling it out as a possibility.
  • Something in her voice sounded as if she hadn't ruled the possibility out.
  • There have been a number of dog thefts in recent months and while we are not linking them specifically we don't rule this possibility out.
Synonyms
exclude, eliminate, reject, dismiss, disregard; preclude, prohibit, prevent, obviate, disallow

Derivatives

ruleless

adjective
More example sentences
  • Those who like crisp rules tend to think rules are needed to have real law and think ruleless ‘judgment’ is not law.
  • By the eighties, the ghetto had become a ruleless war zone, where people were their own worst enemies.
  • The web is a terrible, confusing, violent, ruleless place that has run wild and cannot be harnessed and will never be placed under the benevolent, watchful eye of government!

Definition of rule in:

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Pronunciation: ˌantɪˈbɛləm
adjective
occurring or existing before a particular war…

There are 2 definitions of rule in English:

Rule 432

Line breaks: Rule 43

noun

(In the UK) a prison regulation whereby prisoners, typically sex offenders, can be isolated or segregated for their own protection.