› GOVERNMENT, LAW 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: rules and regulations. a general/basic/fundamental rule As a general rule, companies do not qualify for the generous tax breaks if they are listed on another exchange.a rule about/on sth Hodgson breached Football League rules on payments to agents.a rule of sth A basic rule of finance is that if an asset produces a high return, it carries a high risk. make/set/change the rules follow/obey/observe the rules strict/tough rulesbe against the rules Such misleading advertising is against the rules.it is against the rules to do sth Halverson said it was against the group's rules to disclose the number of volunteers in its ranks. Under current rules only €30,000 of savings would be protected should the bank collapse. break the rules This huge company has been the exception to the rule that conglomerates are doomed to underperformance.
bend/stretch the rules › to allow the rules to be broken in a way that is not very serious: Is it acceptable to lie, cheat, or just bend the rules a little in order to succeed in our highly competitive world? In special cases the manager will stretch the rules.
rule of thumb › a practical and approximate way of measuring or deciding about something: As a rule of thumb, the higher the yield offered, the riskier the investments will be.
the rules of the game › the set of ideas and principles that most people involved in an activity, area of business, etc. accept and follow: Both companies changed the rules of the retail game by producing entertaining retail experiences. know the rules of the game.
sth is the rule › used to say that a particular condition or way of operating is typical or accepted in a particuar situation: In most public school libraries, a staff of one person is the rule, not the exception. In the newest high-end restaurants, high style is the rule. → See also ground rules, the Hague Rules, run verb