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ground rule

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noun
  1. Usually ground rules. basic or governing principles of conduct in any situation or field of endeavor: the ground rules of press conferences.
  2. Sports. any of certain rules specially adopted, as in baseball and softball, for dealing with situations or circumstances arising chiefly from the particular nature of the playing area or the interference of spectators.

Origin of ground rule

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for ground rules

ground rule

noun
  1. a procedural rule or principle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with ground rules

ground rules

Basic procedures of conduct, as in The press secretary sets the ground rules for all of the President's press conferences. The term comes from baseball, where it refers to specific rules for a particular ballpark, which are based on special conditions such as a very high outfield fence or a field obstruction of some kind. It began to be transferred to more general use in the mid-1900s.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.