Nearby words

  1. ruisdael,
  2. ruisdael, jacob van,
  3. rukeyser,
  4. rukeyser, muriel,
  5. rukwa,
  6. rule joint,
  7. rule of bigeminy,
  8. rule of eleven,
  9. rule of engagement,
  10. rule of law


    as a rule, generally; usually: He arrives at eleven o'clock, as a rule.
    rule the roost. roost(def 7).

Origin of rule

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English riule, reule < Old French riule < Latin rēgula straight stick, pattern (see regula); (v.) Middle English riwlen, reulen, rewellen < Old French riuler, rieuler, ruler < Late Latin rēgulāre, derivative of rēgula

Related forms

Synonym study

1. See principle. 13. Rule, administer, command, govern, manage mean to exercise authoritative guidance or direction. Rule implies the exercise of authority as by a sovereign: to rule a kingdom. Administer places emphasis on the planned and orderly procedures used: to administer the finances of an institution. Command suggests military authority and the power to exact obedience; to be in command of: to command a ship. To govern is authoritatively to guide or direct persons or things, especially in the affairs of a large administrative unit: to govern a state. To manage is to conduct affairs, i.e., to guide them in a unified way toward a definite goal, or to direct or control people, often by tact, address, or artifice: to manage a business. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rule

British Dictionary definitions for rule



an authoritative regulation or direction concerning method or procedure, as for a court of law, legislative body, game, or other human institution or activityjudges' rules; play according to the rules
the exercise of governmental authority or controlthe rule of Caesar
the period of time in which a monarch or government has powerhis rule lasted 100 days
a customary form or procedure; regular course of actionhe made a morning swim his rule
the rule the common order of things; normal conditionviolence was the rule rather than the exception
a prescribed method or procedure for solving a mathematical problem, or one constituting part of a computer program, usually expressed in an appropriate formalism
a formal expression of a grammatical regularity in a linguistic description of a language
any of various devices with a straight edge for guiding or measuring; rulera carpenter's rule
  1. a printed or drawn character in the form of a long thin line
  2. another name for dash 1 (def. 13) en rule; em rule
  3. a strip of brass or other metal used to print such a line
Christianity a systematic body of prescriptions defining the way of life to be followed by members of a religious order
law an order by a court or judge
as a rule normally or ordinarily


to exercise governing or controlling authority over (a people, political unit, individual, etc)he ruled for 20 years; his passion for her ruled his life
(when tr, often takes a clause as object) to decide authoritatively; decreethe chairman ruled against the proposal
(tr) to mark with straight parallel lines or make one straight line, as with a rulerto rule a margin
(tr) to restrain or controlto rule one's temper
(intr) to be customary or prevalentchaos rules in this school
(intr) to be pre-eminent or superiorfootball rules in the field of sport
(tr) astrology (of a planet) to have a strong affinity with certain human attributes, activities, etc, associated with (one or sometimes two signs of the zodiac)Mars rules Aries
rule the roost or rule the roast to be pre-eminent; be in charge
Derived Formsrulable, adjective

Word Origin for rule

C13: from Old French riule, from Latin rēgula a straight edge; see regulate

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

Word Origin and History for rule
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for rule




A usual, customary, or generalized course of action or behavior.
A generalized statement that describes what is true in most or all cases; a standard.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with rule


In addition to the idioms beginning with rule

  • rule of thumb
  • rule out
  • rule the roost

also see:

  • as a rule
  • exception proves the rule
  • ground rules
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.