Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: reule, from Latin regula; REGULAR1


1 noun
Related topics: Grammar, Measurement
rule1 S2 W2


[countable] an official instruction that says how things must be done or what is allowed, especially in a game, organization, or job [↪ law, regulation]COLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
strict rule unwritten/unspoken rule (=an unofficial rule that everyone knows about) break a rule (=not obey a rule) follow/obey/observe the rules comply with the rules (=obey the rules) bend/stretch the rules (=do something that is not normally allowed) play by the rules (=do what is expected and agreed) against the rules (=not allowed) under the rules (of something) (=according to a particular set of rules) breach of the rules (=when someone does not obey the rules) rules are rules (=used when you are saying that a rule cannot be broken) rules and regulations
rule of
The rules of the game are quite simple.
The rules are less strict in the local county court.
If you break the rules, it just spoils the whole game.
You have to follow the rules precisely in order to lose weight fast.
her refusal to comply with the club rules
We might be able to bend the rules just this one time.
The point of having the European Union is to make everybody play by the rules.
Is it against the rules to talk?
Under the rules of the International Cycling union, an eight day delay is allowed.
It is not a crime, though it is a breach of stock market rules.
Rules are rules and it's my duty to enforce them.
I'm sick of all their petty rules and regulations.
School rules required all girls to tie back their hair.


[countable] what you should do in a particular situation, or a statement about this:
There are no hard and fast rules (=clear and definite rules) about what to wear to classes.
rule of
There are two basic rules of survival.
widespread acceptance of certain rules of conduct
One of these unwritten rules is that parents should play with their children.
The rule is: if you feel any pain you should stop exercising immediately.


[singular] something that is normal or usually true
as a (general) rule
As a general rule most students finish their coursework by the end of May.
Early marriage used to be the rule in that part of the world.
A series of payments used to be the exception rather than the rule.
Unfortunately there is an exception to every rule.


[uncountable] the government of a country or area by a particular group of people or using a particular system
under ... rule
people living under communist rule
the end of colonial rule
a period of military rule
direct rule from Westminster
the restoration of majority rule (=government by the party that most people have voted for) to Northern Ireland

grammar/science etc

[countable]SLG a statement about what is usually allowed in a particular system, such as the grammar of a language, or a science
rule of
the rules of English punctuation

the rule of law

a situation in which the laws of a country are obeyed:
We are here to uphold the rule of law.

the rules of natural justice

what people believe to be right and fair:
The governor failed to observe the rules of natural justice.

rule of thumb

a rough figure or method of calculation, based on practical experience:
As a general rule of thumb, children this age should not spend more than one hour on homework.

make it a rule (to do something)

to try to make sure that you always do something:
I make it a rule never to mix business with pleasure.

for measuring

[countable] old-fashionedTM a ruler

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