from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Governing power or its possession or use; authority.
  • n. The duration of such power.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The body of regulations prescribed by the founder of a religious order for governing the conduct of its members.
  • n. A usual, customary, or generalized course of action or behavior: "The rule of life in the defense bar ordinarily is to go along and get along” ( Scott Turow).
  • n. A generalized statement that describes what is true in most or all cases: In this office, hard work is the rule, not the exception.
  • n. Mathematics A standard method or procedure for solving a class of problems.
  • n. Law A court order limited in application to a specific case.
  • n. Law A subordinate regulation governing a particular matter.
  • n. See ruler.
  • n. Printing A thin metal strip of various widths and designs, used to print borders or lines, as between columns.
  • transitive v. To exercise control, dominion, or direction over; govern.
  • transitive v. To dominate by powerful influence.
  • transitive v. To decide or declare authoritatively or judicially; decree. See Synonyms at decide.
  • transitive v. To mark with straight parallel lines.
  • transitive v. To mark (a straight line), as with a ruler.
  • intransitive v. To be in total control or command; exercise supreme authority.
  • intransitive v. To formulate and issue a decree or decision.
  • intransitive v. To prevail at a particular level or rate: Prices ruled low.
  • intransitive v. Slang To be excellent or superior: That new video game rules!
  • rule out To prevent; preclude: The snowstorm ruled out their weekly meeting.
  • rule out To remove from consideration; exclude: The option of starting over has been ruled out.
  • idiom as a rule In general; for the most part: As a rule, we take the bus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A regulation, law, guideline.
  • n. A ruler; device for measuring, a straightedge, a measure.
  • n. this sense?) Something to keep order.
  • n. A straight line (continuous mark, as made by a pen or the like), especially one lying across a paper as a guide for writing.
  • n. A regulating principle.
  • n. A normal condition or state of affairs.
  • v. To regulate, be in charge of, make decisions for, reign over.
  • v. To excel.
  • v. To mark (paper or the like) with rules (lines).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is prescribed or laid down as a guide for conduct or action; a governing direction for a specific purpose; an authoritative enactment; a regulation; a prescription; a precept.
  • n.
  • n. Uniform or established course of things.
  • n. Systematic method or practice; as, my ule is to rise at six o'clock.
  • n. Ordibary course of procedure; usual way; comon state or condition of things.
  • n. Conduct in general; behavior.
  • n. The act of ruling; administration of law; government; empire; authority; control.
  • n. An order regulating the practice of the courts, or an order made between parties to an action or a suit.
  • n. A determinate method prescribed for performing any operation and producing a certain result.
  • n. A general principle concerning the formation or use of words, or a concise statement thereof; thus, it is a rule in England, that s or es , added to a noun in the singular number, forms the plural of that noun; but “man” forms its plural “men”, and is an exception to the rule.
  • n.
  • n. A straight strip of wood, metal, or the like, which serves as a guide in drawing a straight line; a ruler.
  • n. A measuring instrument consisting of a graduated bar of wood, ivory, metal, or the like, which is usually marked so as to show inches and fractions of an inch, and jointed so that it may be folded compactly.
  • n.
  • n. A thin plate of metal (usually brass) of the same height as the type, and used for printing lines, as between columns on the same page, or in tabular work.
  • n. A composing rule. See under Conposing.
  • intransitive v. To have power or command; to exercise supreme authority; -- often followed by over.
  • intransitive v. To lay down and settle a rule or order of court; to decide an incidental point; to enter a rule.
  • intransitive v. To keep within a (certain) range for a time; to be in general, or as a rule.
  • transitive v. To control the will and actions of; to exercise authority or dominion over; to govern; to manage.
  • transitive v. To control or direct by influence, counsel, or persuasion; to guide; -- used chiefly in the passive.
  • transitive v. To establish or settle by, or as by, a rule; to fix by universal or general consent, or by common practice.
  • transitive v. To require or command by rule; to give as a direction or order of court.
  • transitive v. To mark with lines made with a pen, pencil, etc., guided by a rule or ruler; to print or mark with lines by means of a rule or other contrivance effecting a similar result.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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 rule a blank book. See ruled paper, under paper.
  • To mark with or as with the aid of a ruler or a ruling-machine: as, to rule lines 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 govern.
  • 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.
  • To revel; be unruly. Halliwell (under reul).
  • n. An instrument with an edge approximately straight, subserving purposes of measurement.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. In law: A statement of a principle of law propounded as controlling or entitled to control conduct; the principle thus stated: as, the rule against perpetuities (see perpetuity, 3). In this sense some rules are statutory or constitutional—that is, created by or embodied in statutes or a constitution; some are common-law rules, as many of the rules of evidence; and some are equitable—that is, introduced by the courts of equity. More specifically, regulations (generally, if not always, promulgated in writing) prescribed by a court or judges for the conduct of litigation, being either general rules, applicable to whole classes of cases (commonly called rules of court), or particular rules, or orders in particular causes: as, a rule for a new trial, a rule nisi, etc.
  • n. plural In American parliamentary law, the regulations adopted by a deliberative body for the conduct of its proceedings, corresponding to the standing orders of the British House of Commons.
  • n. In grammar, an established form of construction in a particular class of words, or the expression of that form in words. Thus, it is a rule in English that s or es added to a noun in the singular number forms the plural of that noun; but man forms its plural men, and so is an exception to the rule.
  • n. A form of words embodying a method for attaining a desired result; also, the method itself: as, the rules of art; especially, in arithmetic, the description of a process for solving a problem or performing a calculation; also, the method itself.
  • n. The expression of a uniformity; a general proposition; especially, the statement that under certain circumstances certain phenomena will present themselves: as, failure is the general rule, success the exception.
  • n. In law: Jail limits. See rules of a prison, below.
  • n. The time and place appointed in a court, or in the office of its clerk, for entering rules or orders such as do not require to be granted by the court in term time. Hence the phrase at rules, at the session so appointed.
  • n. Conformity to rule; regularity; propriety: as, to be out of rule.
  • n. The possession and exertion of guiding and controlling power; government; sway; dominion; supreme command or authority.
  • n. In printing, a thin strip of rolled brass, cut type-high, used for the printing of continuous lines. (See composing.)
  • n. In plastering, a strip of wood placed on the face of a wall as a guide to assist in keeping the plane surface.
  • n. In musical notation, same as line, 2 .
  • n. See def. 8.
  • n. Synonyms Precept, etc. (see principle), law, regulation, formula, criterion, standard.
  • n. Direction, regulation, dominion, lordship, authority, mastery, domination.
  • n. Revel; revelry.
  • n. plural In ship-building, a book of one of the marine registration societies containing a systematic scheme of scantlings and rules for the construction of all types and sizes of vessels. The most important of these are Lloyd's rules (which see). Rules involving somewhat different systems are published by other societies, as the British Corporation rules, Bureau Veritas rules (French), Record of American and Foreign Shipping rules (United States), German Lloyd rules, etc.
  • n. A carpenter's folding foot-rule, made in sections so arranged that it can be quickly adjusted for use as a yardstick (three feet) or as a four-foot rule or five-foot rule. Sometimes called a two-four rule, according to arrangement of sections. Rules of this type are sometimes called zigzag rules.
  • n. ax + by + cz + … + lw = m
  • n. a′ x + b′ y + c′ z + … + l′ w = m′
  • n. in the bipartite case in the analytical theory of multipartite denumeration, or the enumeration of the partitions of multipartite numbers in combinatory analysis.

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

  • v. exercise authority over; as of nations
  • v. decide on and make a declaration about
  • n. the duration of a monarch's or government's power
  • n. a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system
  • n. any one of a systematic body of regulations defining the way of life of members of a religious order
  • n. (mathematics) a standard procedure for solving a class of mathematical problems
  • n. directions that define the way a game or sport is to be conducted
  • n. a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior
  • n. a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct
  • v. mark or draw with a ruler
  • n. something regarded as a normative example
  • n. prescribed guide for conduct or action
  • n. measuring stick consisting of a strip of wood or metal or plastic with a straight edge that is used for drawing straight lines and measuring lengths
  • v. be larger in number, quantity, power, status or importance
  • n. (linguistics) a rule describing (or prescribing) a linguistic practice
  • v. keep in check
  • n. dominance or power through legal authority
  • v. have an affinity with; of signs of the zodiac
  • v. decide with authority


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English reule, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *regula, from Latin rēgula, rod, principle; see reg- in Indo-European roots.



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