American English

Definition of rule verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they rule
    he / she / it rules
    past simple ruled
    -ing form ruling
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  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] to control and have authority over a country, a group of people, etc. rule something At that time John ruled England. The family ruled the city's gangland in the sixties. (figurative) Eighty million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth. rule (over somebody/something) Charles I ruled for eleven years. She once ruled over a vast empire. (figurative) After the revolution, anarchy ruled.
  2. 2[transitive, often passive] rule something (often disapproving) to be the main thing that influences and controls someone or something The pursuit of money ruled his life. We live in a society where we are ruled by the clock.
  3. give official decision
  4. 3[intransitive, transitive] to give an official decision about something synonym pronounce rule (on something) The court will rule on the legality of the action. rule against/in favor of somebody/something The judge ruled against/in favor of the plaintiff. rule somebody/something + adj. The defendant was ruled not guilty. The deal may be ruled illegal. rule somebody/something to be/have something The deal was ruled to be illegal. rule that… The court ruled that the women were unfairly dismissed. it is ruled that… It was ruled that the women had been unfairly dismissed.
  5. draw straight line
  6. 4[transitive] rule something to draw a straight line using something that has a firm, straight edge
  7. Idioms
    divide and conquer/rule
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    to gain or keep control over people by making them disagree with and fight each other, therefore not giving them the chance to unite and oppose you together a policy of divide and rule
    let your heart rule your head
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    to act according to what you feel rather than to what you think is sensible
    rule the roost (informal)
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    to be the most powerful member of a group My grandmother ruled the roost in her house.
    Phrasal Verbsrule somebody/somethingoutrule somebody out of something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: rule