Definition of “rule” - 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.

More 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.

More 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.
See also

More examples

the rule

the usual situation:

In England, it often seems that rain is the rule all year long.

(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 verb(s)

(Definition of “rule” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“rule” in Business English

See all translations

rulenoun [ C ]

uk /ruːl/ us

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 rules
be 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:

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 /ruːl/ us

[ 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

Phrasal verb(s)

(Definition of “rule” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Blogs about "rule"