Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “rule”

See all translations

rule

noun  /rul/ us  

rule noun (INSTRUCTION)

[C] an accepted principle or instruction that states the way things are or should be done, and tells you what you are allowed or are not allowed to do: The company's chief executive failed to enforce federal workplace rules. If you broke the rule, you’re going to be punished for it. It's against the rules to kick someone.

rule noun (CONTROL)

[U] control: This area was under Polish rule until the start of World War II.

rule

verb [I/T]  /rul/ us  

rule verb [I/T] (DECIDE)

to decide officially: [I] A lower court ruled in favor of the society. [+ that clause] The judge ruled that the defendant be taken back to Virginia.

rule verb [I/T] (CONTROL)

politics & government to control, or be the person in charge of a country: [I] The prince ruled wisely and well.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of rule from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of rule?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “rule” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

christmassy

typical of Christmas, or happy because it is Christmas

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More