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rule noun

1 what you can or cannot do, say, etc.

ADJ. basic, cardinal, first, fundamental, golden | ground ~s You and your flatmates should establish some ground rules. | general | formal, official, written | informal, unwritten | rigid, strict, stringent | absolute, hard and fast There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing a typeface. | clear | simple Follow these few simple rules, and you won't go far wrong. | arbitrary | petty He made his children's lives a misery with all his petty rules. | club, company, competition, school, union, etc. | cultural, ethical, legal, moral, social | disciplinary, immigration, safety, tax | grammar, grammatical

QUANT. set The aim is to get each member country to adhere to a single set of rules.

VERB + RULE draw up, establish, formulate, impose, issue, lay down, make, set out | abide by, adhere to, follow, go by, obey, observe, play by, stick to If he wanted a loan he would have to play by the bank's rules. | be in line with, conform to The packaging does not conform to EU rules. | be in breach of, break, disregard, fall foul of, flout, violate Their action was in breach of Stock Exchange rules. | apply, enforce The referee applied the rules to the letter (= very strictly). | bend, relax Couldn't they just bend the rules and let us in without a ticket? | waive | tighten up The rules on claiming sickness benefit have been tightened up. | be bound by, be fettered by, be governed by Social workers are bound by rules of confidentiality. | interpret, understand The punishment depends on how the umpire interprets the rules.

RULE + VERB apply, be applicable, operate | provide sth, say sth, state sth, stipulate sth The competition rules provide that a cash alternative may be given. | govern sth the rules governing the importing of livestock | allow (for) sth, permit sth The existing rules allow for some flexibility. | forbid sth, prohibit sth | limit sth, restrict sth rules limiting imports

RULE + NOUN book The officials went strictly by the rule book.

PREP. according to the ~s According to the rules, no alcohol can be consumed on the premises. | against/contrary to the ~s Tackling a player without the ball is against the rules. | in accordance with the ~s The music was turned off at midnight, in accordance with the rules. | outside the ~s behaviour which is outside the rules | under a/the ~ Under this rule, only full members of the club are entitled to vote. | within the ~s I believed I was acting within the rules. | ~ about/concerning/on/regarding/relating to What are the school rules about dress? | ~ for There seems to be one rule for the rich and another for the poor. What is the rule for forming plurals? | ~ of the rules of the game

PHRASES a breach/violation of the rules, a body/code/network/system of rules, respect for the rules, rules and regulations

2 what is usual

ADJ. general There are few exceptions to the general rule that shops close at six o'clock.

PREP. as a ~ As a rule, hardly anybody uses this road.

PHRASES be the rule Among her friends, casual dress and a relaxed manner are the rule.

3 government

ADJ. authoritarian, harsh | direct, indirect | emergency The president imposed emergency rule following the riots. | majority | one-party | Labour, Tory, etc. | colonial | home | civilian, military | presidential | mob the lawless days of mob rule

VERB + RULE impose

PREP. under … ~ The country remained under direct rule by the occupying powers.

PHRASES the rule of law a society based on the rule of law