rule Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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   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.
More examples

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
More examples

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.
More examples

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.
See also
More examples

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

See all translations

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

See all translations

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

“rule” in Business English

Word of the Day

autumnal

typical of autumn

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

parklet noun
parklet noun
August 31, 2015
a public outdoor space that may be associated with a local business but where anyone can sit Pop-up cafes in NY are what’s actually called parklets in many other places around the country.

Read More