2 verb
Related topics: Law


[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.

Dictionary results for "rule"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.