rule Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “rule” in the English Dictionary

"rule" in British English

See all translations

rulenoun

uk   /ruːl/  us   /ruːl/
  • rule noun (INSTRUCTION)

B1 [C usually plural] 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: A referee must know all the rules of the game. The first/most important rule in life is always to appear confident. Before you start your 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 special cases the manager will bend/stretch the rules (= allow the rules to be broken slightly). You can trust Ruth because she always plays (it) by/goes by/does things by the rules (= follows instructions, standards, or rules). [+ to infinitive] It's against the rules (of/in boxing) to hit below the belt. [+ that] It's a club rule that new members must sing a song.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • rule noun (CONTROL)

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

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

ruleverb

uk   /ruːl/  us   /ruːl/
  • rule verb (CONTROL)

B2 [I or T] to control or be the person in charge of something such as a country: Most modern kings and queens rule (their countries) only in a formal way, without real power. She rules her household with an iron hand/fist (= severely).
B2 [I or T] to be the most important and controlling influence on someone: Love ruled supreme in her heart. The desperate desire to go to Moscow ruled their lives.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • rule verb (DECIDE)

[I or T] to decide officially: 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 brave action illegal.
See also

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • rule verb (DRAW)

[T] to draw a straight line using something that has a straight edge: She ruled two red lines under the title.
(Definition of rule from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"rule" in American English

See all translations

rulenoun

 us   /rul/
  • 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.

ruleverb [I/T]

 us   /rul/
  • 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)

"rule" in Business English

See all translations

rulenoun [C]

uk   us   /ruːl/
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.

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)
What is the pronunciation of rule?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“rule” in Business English

A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
by ,
May 04, 2016
by Kate Woodford We can’t always focus on the positive! This week, we’re looking at the language that is used to refer to arguing and arguments, and the differences in meaning between the various words and phrases. There are several words that suggest that people are arguing about something that is not important. (As you might

Read More 

Word of the Day

spaceship

(especially in stories) a vehicle used for travel in space

Word of the Day

trigger warning noun
trigger warning noun
May 02, 2016
a warning that a subject may trigger unpleasant emotions or memories This is not, I should stress, an argument that trigger warnings should become commonplace on campus.

Read More