/ (ruːlz) /
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pl n
the Rules English history the neighbourhood around certain prisons (esp the Fleet and King's Bench prison) in which trusted prisoners were allowed to live under specified restrictions
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is commonly used with other verbs to express intention?
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


What are rules?

Rules are statements that say what a person is and isn’t allowed to do. As a verb, rules means to control something or is used in slang to mean something is great. When capitalized, Rules has two specific senses as a noun.

Many things have rules, such as board games or a school. Similar to laws, there is often a penalty or punishment for not following the rules (“breaking the rules”). Things that have formal rules, such as sports, usually have their rules written down or recorded so they can be checked if needed.

  • Real-life examples: According to the rules of soccer, only the goalie is allowed to touch the ball with their hands. It is against the rules of chess to move a pawn backwards. It is the job of referees and umpires to enforce the rules of games.
  • Used in a sentence: My math teacher is very strict and has a lot of rules.

Many things have “unwritten rules,” which are unofficial standards that people are expected to follow. If they don’t, they may be shamed or suffer some other negative consequences.

  • Used in a sentence: I read a magazine article about the rules of dating. 

If someone rules something, they have control over it. They govern it or have authority over it. For example, a king rules a kingdom. Someone that rules something is its ruler.

  • Real-life examples: An emperor or empress rules an empire. A lion rules the jungle. Your teacher rules the classroom.
  • Used in a sentence: The huge alligator scared away all the other animals and now it rules the lake. 

In slang, if something rules, then it is really great or awesome.

  • Used in a sentence: Skateboarding rules!

When capitalized, Rules is used as a short form of Australian Rules, a game played in Australia that is similar to rugby. Rules also refers to old English neighborhoods that surrounded prisons, which certain prisoners were allowed to visit under specific circumstances.

Where does rules come from?

Rules is the plural noun and present tense verb of rule. The first records of rule come from around 1175. It ultimately comes from the Latin rēgula, meaning “straight stick.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to rules?

  • rule (singular noun, infinitive verb)

What are some synonyms for rules?

What are some words that share a root or word element with rules

What are some words that often get used in discussing rules?

How is rules used in real life?

Rules is a common word that most often refers to guidelines or decrees that people are expected to follow.




Try using rules!

Is rules used correctly in the following sentence?

He was labeled a cheater because he tried to break the rules of the game and make illegal moves.

How to use Rules in a sentence