from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun Governing power or its possession or use; authority.
- noun The duration of such power.
- noun An authoritative, prescribed direction for conduct, especially one of the regulations governing procedure in a legislative body or a regulation observed by the players in a game, sport, or contest.
- noun The body of regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for governing the conduct of its members.
- noun A usual, customary, or generalized course of action or behavior.
- noun A generalized statement that describes what is true in most or all cases.
- noun Mathematics A standard method or procedure for solving a class of problems.
- noun A court decision serving as a precedent for subsequent cases.
- noun A legal doctrine or principle.
- noun A court order.
- noun A minor regulation or law.
- noun A statute or regulation governing the court process.
- noun Printing A thin metal strip of various widths and designs, used to print borders or lines, as between columns.
- intransitive verb To exercise control, dominion, or direction over; govern.
- intransitive verb To have a powerful influence over; dominate.
- intransitive verb To be a preeminent or dominant factor in.
- intransitive verb To decide or declare authoritatively or judicially; decree: synonym: decide.
- intransitive verb To mark with straight parallel lines.
- intransitive verb To mark (a straight line), as with a ruler.
- intransitive verb To be in total control or command; exercise supreme authority.
- intransitive verb To formulate and issue a decree or decision.
- intransitive verb To prevail at a particular level or rate.
- intransitive verb Slang To be excellent or superior.
- idiom (as a rule) In general; for the most part.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun Revel; revelry.
- To make conformable to a rule, pattern, or standard; adjust or dispose according to rule; regulate; hence, to guide or order aright.
- To settle as by a rule; in law, to establish by decision or rule; determine; decide: thus, a court is said to rule a point.
- To have or exercise authority or dominion over; govern; command; control; manage; restrain.
- To prevail on; persuade; advise: generally or always in the passive, so that to be ruled by is to take the advice or follow the directions of.
- To dominate; have a predominant influence or effect upon or in.
- To mark with lines by means of a ruler; produce parallel straight lines in, by any means: as, to
rulea blank book. See ruled paper, under paper.
- To mark with or as with the aid of a ruler or a ruling-machine: as, to
rulelines on paper.
- Any surface, as of paper or metal, upon which a series of parallel lines has been marked or cut.
- Synonyms and Control, Regulate, etc. See
- To have power or command; exercise supreme authority.
- To prevail; decide.
- In law: To decide.
- To lay down and settle a rule or order of court; order by rule; enter a rule.
- In com., to stand or maintain a level.
- noun An instrument with an edge approximately straight, subserving purposes of measurement.
- noun A formula to which conduct must be conformed; a minor law, canon, or regulation, especially a regulation which a person imposes upon himself: as, the rules of whist.
- noun Specifically— In monasteries or other religious societies, the code of laws required to be observed by the society and its individual members: as, the rule of St. Benedict, the rule of St. Basil, etc.
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
Now note that the rule of stare decisis is a _rule of law_.
But if the exceptions to the rule of promise keeping are all those cases where keeping a the promise is less than optimal, then the ˜rule™ is no more than a rule of thumb, and the actual principle governing decisions on promise-keeping is the principle of maximal utility.
Some are rich and some are poor; some old and some young; some in peace and some in trouble; some have received more spiritual gifts than others, and have more opportunity for their exercise: therefore it belongs unto the rule of the church, that all be admonished, instructed, and exhorted to attend unto their respective duties, by those in _rule_, according to the observation which they make of people's diligence or negligence in them.
The first rule that they who love a child should teach him, is the _rule of self_.
And now, having seen some of the Bible, proofs for this lesson of liberality, or for this rule about giving and getting, _let us go on to speak of some of the illustrations of this rule_.
And that in the church they are vested with rule appears not only by their name of elders, which when applied to officers, imports rule, authority, &c., as hath been said; but also by the adjunct participle _that rule_, or
Such obedience requires knowledge of the rule and acceptance of it _as the rule_ of the agent's own actions, but not necessarily knowledge of its ground or of its systematic connexion with other similarly known and similarly accepted rules (It may be remarked that the Greek word usually translated "reason," means in almost all cases in the _Ethics_ such a rule, and not the faculty which apprehends, formulates, considers them).
And in ruling her ranks it was _her_ rule to _rule_;
When he shall rule all lands -- if he _will rule_ --
For "an awful rule" I propose to substitute _and lawful rule_, as agreeing better with the text and context; indeed, the whole passage indicates it.