Topic: LAW


2 verb


[intransitive and transitive] to have the official power to control a country and the people who live there [↪ govern]:
Queen Victoria ruled England for 64 years.
African tribal societies were traditionally ruled by a council of elders.
rule over
Alexander the Great ruled over a huge empire.
He announced that henceforth he would rule by decree (=make all the important decisions himself).


[transitive] if a feeling or desire rules someone, it has a powerful and controlling influence on their actions:
the passion for power and success which rules her life


[intransitive always + adverb/preposition, transitive]SCL to make an official decision about something, especially a legal problem [↪ decree]
rule that
The judge ruled that she should have custody of the children.
rule on
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the case.
rule in favour of/against somebody/something
The tribunal ruled in her favour.
be ruled illegal/unlawful etc
This part of the bill was ruled unconstitutional.

rule the roost

informal to be the most powerful person in a group:
His wife rules the roost in their house.

rule somebody/something with a rod of iron


rule somebody with an iron fist/hand

to control a group of people in a very severe way:
Although he was a fair man, he ruled us with an iron fist.

somebody/something rules

informal used to say that the team, school, place etc mentioned is better than any other:
Arsenal rules OK. British English
graffiti saying 'Poheny High rules'

draw a line

[transitive] to draw a line using a ruler or other straight edge:
Rule a line under each answer.

; ➔ let your heart rule your head

at heart (2)

rule something/somebody ↔ out

phrasal verb
1 to decide that something is not possible or suitable:
The police have ruled out suicide.
She has refused to rule out the possibility of singing again.
2 to make it impossible for something to happen:
The mountainous terrain rules out most forms of agriculture.
3 to state that someone will not be able to take part in a sports event
rule something/somebody ↔ out of
He has been ruled out of the match with a knee injury.

Explore LAW Topic