I. rule rule 1 [ruːl] noun
1. [countable] an official instruction that says how things should be done or what is allowed:

• The phone companies are working under new rules now.

• The company broke government rules to undercut other bids.

• company rules and regulations regarding sexual harassment

— see also Hague Rules
an official instruction on how something must be treated and presented in accounts; = ACCOUNTING STANDARD:

• Accounting rules required us to recognize the costs as an expense.

ˈearnings ˌrule [singular]
in Britain, a rule which until 1979 limited how much people with a state pension could earn by working, for example in a part-time job
2. [uncountable] the government of a country by a particular group of people or using a particular system:

• a constitution that formally ended one-party rule

3. work to rule HUMAN RESOURCES to work less quickly or effectively than usual, but without breaking your employer's rules, as a protest:

• The customs men are prohibited from striking, but some have worked to rule out of sympathy with the government workers.

4. be the rule to be the normal or usual thing to happen in a situation:

• Monopoly business practices are the rule here and not the exception.

  [m0] II. rule rule 2 verb [intransitive, transitive]
1. to have the official power to control a country or organization:

• a country that has been ruled by a dictator for three decades

• Each bank would be ruled by a mix of outside directors.

2. LAW to make an official decision about something, especially a legal problem:
rule (that)

• The board ruled that the contract was valid and should be honored.

rule against

• The court had ruled against the use of any unpublished works.

rule in favour of

• a court decision to rule in favour of the company

rule something → out phrasal verb [transitive]
1. to decide that something is not possible or suitable:

• Management has not ruled out further redundancies.

2. to make it impossible for something to happen:

• The mountainous terrain rules out most forms of agriculture.

* * *

rule UK US /ruːl/ noun [C]
GOVERNMENT, LAW an accepted principle or instruction that states the way things are or should be done, and tells you what you are allowed or are not allowed to do: »

rules and regulations.


a general/basic/fundamental rule


As a general rule, companies do not qualify for the generous tax breaks if they are listed on another exchange.

a rule about/on sth »

Hodgson breached Football League rules on payments to agents.

a rule of sth »

A basic rule of finance is that if an asset produces a high return, it carries a high risk.


make/set/change the rules


follow/obey/observe the rules


strict/tough rules

be against the rules »

Such misleading advertising is against the rules.

it is against the rules to do sth »

Halverson said it was against the group's rules to disclose the number of volunteers in its ranks.


Under current rules only €30,000 of savings would be protected should the bank collapse.


break the rules


This huge company has been the exception to the rule that conglomerates are doomed to underperformance.

bend/stretch the rules — Cf. stretch the rules
rule of thumb — Cf. rule of thumb
the rules of the game — Cf. the rules of the game
sth is the rule — Cf. sth is the rule
See also GROUND RULES(Cf. ↑ground rules), THE HAGUE RULES(Cf. ↑the Hague Rules), RUN(Cf. ↑run) verb
rule UK US /ruːl/ verb
[I or T] LAW to decide officially: »

The judge ruled that the directors had knowingly broken the law.

rule on sth »

She is expected to rule on the matter within 20 days.

rule on how/whether/what, etc. »

On Friday a judge will rule on whether proper procedures were adhered to.

rule for/against »

The EC ruled against the merger.


The judged ruled in favour of the plaintiff.

See also OVERRULE(Cf. ↑overrule), RULE STH/SB OUT(Cf. ↑rule sth/sb out), RULE STH OUT(Cf. ↑rule sth out)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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