work to rule
[ wurktuh-rool ]
/ ˈwɜrk tə ˈrul /
Save This Word!
the act of working only according to the strictest interpretation of written requirements and regulations, as a job action or protest: They were offered a one-off payment of $1,000 each to end their unofficial work to rule.See also slowdown (def. 2).
characterized by or consisting of working only according to the strictest interpretation of the rules of a job, as a job action or protest: Yesterday, members voted to recommence a set of work to rule actions that will continue until Friday.Tea estate workers launched a work-to-rule campaign in which they will only pick one kilogram of leaves per day.
verb (used without object)
to work only according to the strictest interpretation of the rules of a job as a job action or protest: Thousands of teaching assistants are set to begin working to rule this Monday following a failure in negotiations.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of work to rule
First recorded in 1920–25
Words nearby work to rule
workstream, work-study, worktable, work through, worktop, work to rule, work train, workup, workwear, workweek, workwoman
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for work to rule
a form of industrial action in which employees adhere strictly to all the working rules laid down by their employers, with the deliberate intention of reducing the rate of working
verb work to rule
(intr) to decrease the rate of working by this means
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