from The Century Dictionary.

  • Regulating; tending to regulate.
  • Since Kant, a rule showing what we ought to assume, without giving any assurance that the fact to be assumed is true; or a proposition which will lead to the truth if it be true, while if it be false the truth cannot be attained: such, for example, is the rule that we must not despair of answering any question by sufficient investigation.
  • A rule of conduct which, if it be pursued, may lead us to our desired end, while, if it be not pursued, that end cannot be attained in any way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Tending to regulate; regulating.
  • adjective (Metaph.) Necessarily assumed by the mind as fundamental to all other knowledge; furnishing fundamental principles

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of, or relating to regulation
  • adjective having a regulatory function

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective restricting according to rules or principles


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It is pretty evident that Maoist cadres have been involved into the smuggling cordyceps and other endangered medicinal herbs and regarding this they have also established their own so-called regulative mechanism.

    Scrutinizing Mr. Yadav's Allegations

  • Calvin's approach to worship later came to be called the regulative principle.

    Reformed Baptist Fellowship

  • Calvin's approach to worship later came to be called the regulative principle.

    Reformed Baptist Fellowship

  • In my article, I introduced a reference to driving on the right as an example to show how rules can function causally in behavior; but in the article I also distinguish between "regulative" and "constitutive" rules.

    Chomsky's Revolution: An Exchange

  • According to Rawls, individual justice is theoretically derivative from social justice because the just individual is to be understood as someone with an effective or "regulative" desire to comply with the principles of justice.

    Justice as a Virtue

  • But we have this consolation, -- that we have creed-articles which we can get by heart, though ignorant of what they mean, and under what these philosophers call a "regulative" religion repeat our paternosters to the end of time.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 69, July, 1863

  • I listened to a preacher yesterday who is still wrestling through it all (note: not the best point at which to preach about it because you will communicate the certainty of the existence of your doubts), but is wrestling because there is no command in Scripture to observe the feast of Christmas and he is a believer in the regulative principle of worship.

    The Anxiety of Christmas « Unknowing

  • With respect to the regulative principle, where are we commanded to celebrate Easter, either?

    The Anxiety of Christmas « Unknowing

  • The whole idea of the regulative principle is that we can assume nothing: in worship we do not do anything not explicitly commanded.

    The Anxiety of Christmas « Unknowing

  • We are witnessing an explosive expansion of government at all levels that is gaining regulative powers at an unprecedented level.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Just Wondering


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