rule Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “rule” in the English Dictionary

"rule" in British English

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rulenoun

uk   us   /ruːl/
  • rule noun (INSTRUCTION)

B1 [C usually plural] an ​acceptedprinciple 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: A ​referee must ​know all the rules of the ​game. The first/most ​important rule in ​life is always to ​appearconfident. Before you ​startyour own ​business you should be ​familiar with the government's rules and ​regulations. You must follow/​obey/​observe the rules. You must not break the rules. In ​specialcases the ​manager will bend/​stretch the rules (= ​allow the rules to be ​brokenslightly). You can ​trust Ruth because she always plays (it) by/goes by/does things by the rules (= ​followsinstructions, ​standards, or rules). [+ to infinitive] It's against the rules (of/inboxing) tohit below the ​belt. [+ that] It's a ​club rule that new ​members must ​sing a ​song.

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  • rule noun (CONTROL)

C2 [U] a ​period of ​time during which a ​particularperson or ​group is in ​control of a ​country: The ​period of Fascist rule is one ​peopletry to ​forget. We don't ​want one-party rule - we ​want rule by the ​people.
See also

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ruleverb

uk   us   /ruːl/
  • rule verb (CONTROL)

B2 [I or T] to ​control or be the ​person in ​charge of something such as a ​country: Most ​modernkings and ​queens rule (​theircountries) only in a ​formal way, without ​realpower. She rules her ​household with an ​ironhand/​fist (= ​severely).B2 [I or T] to be the most ​important and ​controllinginfluence on someone: Love ruled ​supreme in her ​heart. The ​desperatedesire to go to Moscow ruled ​theirlives.

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  • rule verb (DECIDE)

[I or T] to ​decideofficially: Only the Appeal ​Court can rule on this ​point. The ​judge ruled for/in ​favour of/against the ​defendant. [+ that] The ​government has ruled that the ​refugees must be ​deported. [+ obj + noun/adj ] The ​courts have ruled his ​braveactionillegal.
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  • rule verb (DRAW)

[T] to ​draw a ​straightline using something that has a ​straightedge: She ruled two ​redlines under the ​title.
(Definition of rule from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"rule" in American English

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rulenoun

 us   /rul/
  • rule noun (INSTRUCTION)

[C] an ​acceptedprinciple 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 ​chiefexecutivefailed to ​enforcefederalworkplace 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.

ruleverb [I/T]

 us   /rul/
  • rule verb [I/T] (DECIDE)

to ​decideofficially: [I] A ​lowercourt 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)

"rule" in Business English

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rulenoun [C]

uk   us   /ruːl/
GOVERNMENT, LAW an ​acceptedprinciple 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. ageneral/basic/​fundamental rule As a ​general rule, ​companies do not ​qualify for the generous ​taxbreaks 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 ​assetproduces 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 ​misleadingadvertising 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. Undercurrent rules only €30,000 of ​savings would be ​protected should the ​bankcollapse. 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 ​highlycompetitiveworld? In ​specialcases 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 ​yieldoffered, 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 theretail game by ​producingentertainingretailexperiences. 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-endrestaurants, high ​style is the rule.

ruleverb

uk   us   /ruːl/
[I or T] LAW to decide ​officially: The ​judge ruled that the ​directors had knowingly ​broken the ​law.rule on sth She is expected to rule on the matter within 20 days.rule on how/whether/what, etc. On Friday a ​judge will rule on whether proper ​procedures were adhered to.rule for/against The EC ruled against the ​merger. The ​judged ruled in favour of the ​plaintiff.
See also
(Definition of rule from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“rule” in Business English

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