rule / roōl/ • n. 1. one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere: the rules of the game were understood. ∎ a law or principle that operates within a particular sphere of knowledge, describing or prescribing what is possible or allowable: the rules of grammar. ∎ a code of practice and discipline for a religious order or community: the Rule of St. Benedict. ∎ control of or dominion over an area or people: the revolution brought an end to British rule. ∎ (the rule) the normal or customary state of things: such accidents are the exception rather than the rule. 2. a strip of wood or other rigid material used for measuring length or marking straight lines; a ruler. ∎ a thin printed line or dash, generally used to separate headings, columns, or sections of text. 3. (Rules) Austral. short for Australian Rules (football). ∎ Law an order made by a judge or court with reference to a particular case only. • v. 1. [tr.] exercise ultimate power or authority over (an area and its people): Latin America today is ruled by elected politicians | [intr.] the period in which Spain ruled over Portugal. ∎ (of a feeling) have a powerful and restricting influence on (a person's life): her whole life seemed to be ruled by fear. ∎ [intr.] be a dominant or powerful factor or force: the black market rules supreme. ∎ pronounce authoritatively and legally to be the case: a federal court ruled that he was unfairly dismissed from his job. ∎ Astrol. (of a planet) have a particular influence over (a sign of the zodiac, house, aspect of life, etc.). 2. [tr.] make parallel lines across (paper): [as adj.] (ruled) a sheet of ruled paper. ∎ make (a straight line) on paper with a ruler. PHRASES: as a rule usually, but not always. make it a rule to do something have as a habit or general principle to do something: I make it a rule never to mix business with pleasure. rule of law the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws. rule of thumb a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory. rule the roost be in complete control.PHRASAL VERBS: rule something out (or in) exclude (or include) something as a possibility: the doctor ruled out appendicitis.DERIVATIVES: rule·less adj.
To command or require pursuant to a principle of the court, as to rule the sheriff to serve the summons.
To settle or decide a point of law at a trial or hearing.
An established standard, guide, or regulation governing conduct, procedure, or action.
The word rule has a wide range of meanings in the law, as in ordinary English. As a verb, it most commonly refers to the action of a court of law in settling a legal question. When a court rules, the decision is called a ruling. As a noun, rule generally refers to either settled principles of substantive law or procedural regulations used by courts to administer justice.
One of the most basic concepts in the Anglo-American legal tradition is called the rule of law. The rule of law refers to a set of rules and procedures governing human and institutional behavior that are autonomous and possess their own logic. These rules are fundamental to society and provide the guides for all other rules that regulate behavior. The rule of law argues for the legitimacy of the legal system by claiming that all persons will be judged by a neutral and impartial authority and that no one will receive special treatment. The concept of due process of law is an important component of the rule of law.
Courts and legislatures produce substantive law in all areas of human behavior and social arrangement. Over time certain guiding principles emerge that rise to the level of a rule. When this happens, it usually means that the courts have firmly established a standard for assessing an issue. The source of a rule may be a previous set of court decisions or a legislative act that clearly sets out how the law is to be interpreted. Substantive rules help guide attorneys in giving advice to clients. For example, the rule against perpetuities governs the way in which property may be given. Knowing this rule, a lawyer can draft a legal document that will not violate the rule.
Courts of law have many procedural rules that determine how the judicial system will handle disputes. Courts have the authority, either by legislative act or by their own inherent power, to promulgate (issue) rules of procedure. State and federal courts have rules of criminal and civil procedure that set out in great detail the requirements of every party to a criminal or civil proceeding. rules of evidence provide guidelines for what a court may properly allow into evidence at a trial.
Courts promulgate rules of professional conduct that govern the ethical behavior of attorneys. Other rules specify how many hours of continuing legal education an attorney must attend to remain in good standing. Courts also issue rules on technology. For example, the highest court in a jurisdiction usually decides whether television cameras will be allowed in a courtroom and issues a rule to that effect.
There are also rules of interpretation that guide courts in making their rulings. For example, the plain-meaning rule is a general principle of statutory interpretation. If the meaning of the words in a writing (such as a statute, contract, or will) is clear, other evidence is inadmissible to change the meaning. The interpretation of criminal statutes is guided by the rule of lenity. A court will decline to interpret a criminal law so as to increase the penalty, unless it has clear evidence of legislative intent to do otherwise.
Since the 1930s the growth in the number of government administrative agencies with rule-making authority has led to thousands of rules and regulations. The Federal Register is an official U.S. government publication that regularly prints proposed and final rules and regulations of government agencies. The internal revenue service, for example, issues administrative rulings that interpret the internal revenue code.
1. A principle that contributes to the organization and control of a group, activity, system, etc., and has the backing of some kind of authority
2. In LANGUAGE TEACHING and learning, a formal statement about the use of an aspect of a language, such as REGULAR and IRREGULAR verbs in French. Traditionally, such rules have often been learned by heart. They are both prescriptive and proscriptive. See DESCRIPTIVE AND PRESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR.
3. In LINGUISTICS, a formal statement of the relationship between structures or units, such as the rules for forming plurals in English. Such rules are intended to be descriptive: explicit statements of how a language works (or may work), representing procedures applied by native speakers without conscious reflection when they talk to each other. It is not always easy to keep the first and second senses of the term distinct from the third sense. See DESCRIPTIVISM AND PRESCRIPTIVISM.
4. In PRINTING, a thin strip of metal or its equivalent, used for printing a solid or decorative line or lines. Such a line the length of an em is an em rule, of an en, an en rule; such rules are used in punctuation as longer or shorter DASHES.
By the end of the 19th century, the singing of Rule Britannia was associated with a particularly assertive patriotism.
rule the roast be in charge, have full authority; the expression is found frequently from the mid 16th century on, but the precise origin is unclear. The (now more common) form rule the roost is recorded from the mid 18th century.
who won't be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rock proverbial saying, mid 17th century, meaning someone who will not behave reasonably must bear the consequences, as a ship which is not being steered on its course will run on to a rock.
So rule vb. govern XIII; mark with lines XV. — OF. reuler — late L. rēgulāre REGULATE. Hence ruler (-ER1) XIV.
rule of three a method of finding a number in the same ratio to a given number as exists between two other given numbers; recorded from the late 16th century, it is also called the golden rule.
rule of thumb a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory; the expression dates from the late 17th century.
rules are made to be broken proverbial saying, mid 20th century, often used in assertion or encouragement.