/ ruːl; NAmE / noun , verb
OF ACTIVITY / GAME
[ C ] a statement of what may, must or must not be done in a particular situation or when playing a game :
to follow / obey / observe the rules
It's against all rules and regulations .
to break a rule (= not follow it)
This explains the rules under which the library operates.
Without unwritten rules civilized life would be impossible.
—see also ground rule
[ C ] a statement of what you are advised to do in a particular situation :
There are no hard and fast rules for planning healthy meals.
The first rule is to make eye contact with your interviewer.
—see also golden rule
HABIT / NORMALLY TRUE
[ C , usually sing. ] a habit; the normal state of things; what is true in most cases :
He makes it a rule never to borrow money.
I go to bed early as a rule .
Cold winters here are the exception rather than the rule (= are rare) .
As a general rule vegetable oils are better for you than animal fats.
[ C ] a statement of what is possible according to a particular system, for example the grammar of a language :
the rules of grammar
GOVERNMENT / CONTROL
[ U ] the government of a country or control of a group of people by a particular person, group or system :
under Communist / civilian / military, etc. rule
majority rule (= government by the political party that most people have voted for)
The 1972 act imposed direct rule from Westminster.
—see also home rule
[ C ] a measuring instrument with a straight edge
—see also slide rule
- bend / stretch the rules
- play by sb's (own) rules
- play by the rules
- the rules of the game
- the rule of law
- a rule of thumb
- work to rule
—more at exception
GOVERN / CONTROL
rule (over sb/sth) to control and have authority over a country, a group of people, etc. :
[ vn ]
At that time John ruled England.
( figurative )
Eighty million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth.
[ v ]
Charles I ruled for eleven years.
She once ruled over a vast empire.
( figurative )
After the revolution, anarchy ruled.
[ vn ] [ often passive ] (often disapproving ) to be the main thing that influences and controls sb/sth :
The pursuit of money ruled his life.
We live in a society where we are ruled by the clock.
GIVE OFFICIAL DECISION
rule (on sth) to give an official decision about sth
SYN pronounce :
[ v ]
The court will rule on the legality of the action.
The judge ruled against / in favour of the plaintiff.
[ vn - adj ]
The deal may be ruled illegal.
[ v that ]
The court ruled that the women were unfairly dismissed.
[also vn to inf , vn that ]
DRAW STRAIGHT LINE
to draw a straight line using sth that has a firm straight edge :
Rule a line at the end of every piece of work.
- rule the roost
- rule (sb/sth) with a rod of iron
—more at court noun , divide verb , heart
- rule off | rule sth off
- rule sb/sth out
- rule sb out of sth
Middle English : from Old French reule (noun), reuler (verb), from late Latin regulare , from Latin regula straight stick.