AskDefine | Define rule

Dictionary Definition



1 a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior; "it was his rule to take a walk before breakfast"; "short haircuts were the regulation" [syn: regulation]
2 something regarded as a normative example; "the convention of not naming the main character"; "violence is the rule not the exception"; "his formula for impressing visitors" [syn: convention, normal, pattern, formula]
3 prescribed guide for conduct or action [syn: prescript]
4 (linguistics) a rule describing (or prescribing) a linguistic practice [syn: linguistic rule]
5 a basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct; "their principles of composition characterized all their works" [syn: principle]
6 a rule or law concerning a natural phenomenon or the function of a complex system; "the principle of the conservation of mass"; "the principle of jet propulsion"; "the right-hand rule for inductive fields" [syn: principle]
7 the duration of a monarch's or government's power; "during the rule of Elizabeth"
8 dominance or power through legal authority; "France held undisputed dominion over vast areas of Africa"; "the rule of Caesar" [syn: dominion]
9 directions that define the way a game or sport is to be conducted; "he knew the rules of chess"
10 any one of a systematic body of regulations defining the way of life of members of a religious order; "the rule of St. Dominic"
11 (mathematics) a standard procedure for solving a class of mathematical problems; "he determined the upper bound with Descartes' rule of signs"; "he gave us a general formula for attacking polynomials" [syn: formula]
12 measuring stick consisting of a strip of wood or metal or plastic with a straight edge that is used for drawing straight lines and measuring lengths [syn: ruler]


1 exercise authority over; as of nations; "Who is governing the country now?" [syn: govern]
2 decide with authority; "The King decreed that all first-born males should be killed" [syn: decree]
3 be larger in number, quantity, power, status or importance; "Money reigns supreme here"; "Hispanics predominate in this neighborhood" [syn: predominate, dominate, reign, prevail]
4 decide on and make a declaration about; "find someone guilty" [syn: find]
5 have an affinity with; of signs of the zodiac
6 mark or draw with a ruler; "rule the margins"
7 keep in check; "rule one's temper" [syn: harness, rein]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (noun) From riule, from regula "straight stick, bar, ruler, pattern"
  • (verb) From riuler, from regulare.



  1. A regulation, law, guideline.
  2. A ruler; device for measuring, a straightedge, a measure.
  3. Something to keep order.




  1. To regulate, be in charge of, make decisions for, reign over.


to regulate, be in charge of, make decisions for, reign over

Extensive Definition

A rule is:
  • Rewrite rule, in generative grammar and computer science
  • Standardization, a formal and widely-accepted statement, fact, definition, or qualification
  • Operation, a determinate rule (method) for performing a mathematical operation and obtaining a certain result (Mathematics, Logic)
  • Rule of inference, a function from sets of formulae to formulae (Mathematics, Logic)
  • Rule of thumb, principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. Also often simply referred to as a rule
  • Moral, an atomic element of a moral code for guiding choices in human behavior
  • Heuristic, a quantized "rule" which shows a tendency or probability for successful function
  • A regulation, as in sports
  • Procedural law, a ruleset governing the application of laws to cases
    • A law, which may informally be called a "rule"
    • A court ruling, a decision by a court
  • Norm (sociology), an informal but widely accepted rule, concept, truth, definition, or qualification (social norms, legal norms, coding norms)
  • Norm (philosophy), a kind of sentence or a reason to act, feel or believe
  • "Rulership" is the concept of governance by a government:
    • Military rule, governance by a military body
    • Monastic rule, a collection of precepts that guides the life of monks or nuns in a religious order where the superior holds the place of Christ

Other uses

  • Rule (song), a song by rapper Nas
  • Ruler, an instrument for measuring lengths
  • Rule, a component of an astrolabe, circumferator or similar instrument
  • Rule of thumb, Acquisition]], a set of guidelines intended to ensure the profitability of businesses owned by the ultra-capitalist Ferengi in the fictional Star Trek universe
  • The Rules, a bestselling self-help book
  • RULE Project (Run Up-to-date Linux Everywhere) is a project that aims to use up-to-date Linux software on old PCs
  • Rule engine, a software system that helps managing business rules
  • Ja Rule, a hip hop artist
    • R.U.L.E., a 2005 greatest hits album by rapper Ja Rule
rule in Czech: Pravidlo
rule in Danish: Regel
rule in German: Regel
rule in Spanish: Regla
rule in Esperanto: Regulo
rule in French: Règle
rule in Korean: 규칙
rule in Ido: Regulo
rule in Italian: Regola
rule in Dutch: Regel
rule in Japanese: 規則
rule in Polish: Reguła
rule in Portuguese: Regra
rule in Quechua: Kamachina
rule in Russian: Правило
rule in Simple English: Rule
rule in Finnish: Sääntö
rule in Swedish: Regel
rule in Chinese: 尺

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Aristotelian sorites, Goclenian sorites, Procrustean law, SOP, T square, a priori truth, acme, act, act on, administration, antetype, antitype, apothegm, appointment, apriorism, archetype, as a rule, ascendancy, assize, authority, authorization, average, axiom, balance, ban, bar, barometer, be in, be in force, be the rage, be the rule, be the thing, be-all and end-all, bear reign, bid, bill, biotype, blue ribbon, brevet, brocard, bull, bylaw, bypass, call on, call the shots, call the signals, call upon, canon, carry authority, categorical syllogism, center, championship, charge, charisma, charm, check, chiefly, civil government, classic example, claws, clout, clutches, code, command, commandment, commission, common practice, commonly, conclude, condemn, consequence, control, convention, crack the whip, credit, criterion, customarily, customs, decide, declaration, declare, decorum, decree, decree-law, decreement, decretal, decretum, deduce, deem, degree, determine, dictate, dictation, dictum, diktat, dilemma, direct, direction, directive, directorship, discipline, dismiss, dispensation, dispose, disposition, disregard, dominance, dominate, domination, domineer, dominion, doom, drill, edict, edictum, effect, effectiveness, eliminate, eminence, empery, empire, enactment, enchantment, enjoin, enthymeme, epitome, esteem, etiquette, exclude, fact, favor, fiat, figure, find, find against, find for, first place, first prize, forbid, force, form, form of government, formality, formula, formulary, fugleman, fugler, fundamental, gather, gauge, general orders, general principle, generality, generally, genotype, give an order, give the word, gnome, golden mean, golden rule, good feeling, govern, governance, government, graduated scale, grip, guide, guideline, guiding principle, hand, hands, happy medium, have clout, have power, have the power, have the right, have the say, head up, headship, hegemony, height, highest, hold, ignore, imitatee, imperative, imperium, importance, in the main, incidental power, infer, influence, influentiality, insinuation, institution, instruct, instruction, ipse dixit, iron hand, issue a command, issue a writ, judge, jurisdiction, jus, juste-milieu, kingship, law, law of nature, lay off, lay out, lead, leadership, legislation, leverage, lex, lordship, magnetism, mainly, manage, management, mandate, mark off, mark out, mastership, mastery, matter of course, maxim, maximum, mean, measure, measure off, measure out, median, mediocrity, medium, middle, middle course, middle ground, middle point, middle position, middle state, middle-of-the-road, midpoint, mirror, mitzvah, mode, model, modus tollens, moment, mood, moral, most, mostly, ne plus ultra, negate, new high, norm, norma, normal, normally, obtain, on the whole, ordain, order, order about, order of nature, ordinance, ordinarily, ordonnance, original, overlook, overrule, oversee, oversight, pace off, palms, par, paradigm, paralogism, parameter, paramountcy, pass judgment, pass sentence, pattern, personality, persuasion, policy, political organization, polity, possess authority, postulate, potency, power, practice, precedent, precept, preclude, predominance, predominate, preponderance, preponderate, prescribed form, prescript, prescription, preside, preside over, presidency, pressure, prestige, prevail, primacy, principium, principle, procedure, proclaim, proclamation, prohibit, promulgate, pronounce, pronounce judgment, pronounce on, pronouncement, pronunciamento, proposition, propriety, proscribe, prosyllogism, prototype, pseudosyllogism, purchase, quantity, raj, reading, readout, record, regime, regimen, regnancy, regulate, regulation, reign, report, representative, repute, rescript, resolve, return a verdict, routine, rubric, rule of deduction, rule off, rule out, rule over, ruler, ruling, run, say, say the word, scale, self-evident truth, senatus consult, senatus consultum, sentence, set form, set off, settle, settled principle, sorites, sovereignty, square, standard, standard operating procedure, standing order, standing orders, statute, step off, straightedge, suasion, subtle influence, suggestion, superintend, supervise, supervision, supremacy, sway, syllogism, system of government, talons, tenet, test, theorem, top spot, touchstone, triangle, truism, truth, type, type species, type specimen, ukase, universal law, universal truth, upper hand, urtext, usually, utter a judgment, value, via media, wear the crown, wear the pants, weight, whip hand, wield authority, wield the scepter, working principle, working rule, yardstick, zenith
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