- a formal order or direction made by a court, as for governing the procedure of the court (general rule) or for sending the case before a referee (special rule).
- a legal principle.
- a court order in a particular case.
- a fixed area in the neighborhood of certain prisons within which certain prisoners were allowed to live.
- the freedom of such an area.
verb (used with object), ruled, rul·ing.
verb (used without object), ruled, rul·ing.
- to prove to be unrelated or not for consideration; eliminate; exclude: to rule out the possibility of error.
- to make impossible or impracticable: The rainstorm ruled out the holiday camping.
Origin of rule
Synonyms for rule
- a printed or drawn character in the form of a long thin line
- another name for dash 1 (def. 13) en rule; em rule
- a strip of brass or other metal used to print such a line
Word Origin for rule
c.1200, "principle or maxim governing conduct, formula to which conduct must be conformed" from Old French riule, Norman reule "rule, custom, (religious) order" (in Modern French partially re-Latinized as règle), from Vulgar Latin *regula, from Latin regula "straight stick, bar, ruler;" figuratively "a pattern, a model," related to regere "to rule, straighten, guide" (see regal). Replaced Old English wealdan.
Meaning "regulation governing play of a game, etc." is from 1690s. Phrase rule of thumb first attested 1690s. Rule of law "supremacy of impartial and well-defined laws to any individual's power" is from 1883. Meaning "strip used for making straight lines or measuring" is recorded from mid-14c. Typography sense is attested from 1680s.
c.1200, "to control, guide, direct," from Old French riuler "impose rule," from Latin regulare (see regulate). Legal sense "establish by decision" is recorded from early 15c. Meaning "mark with lines" is from 1590s. Meaning "to dominate, prevail" is from 1874. "Rule Brittania," patriotic song, is from 1740. Related: Ruled; ruling.
In addition to the idioms beginning with rule
- rule of thumb
- rule out
- rule the roost
- as a rule
- exception proves the rule
- ground rules