Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

rule - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     rule pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleruling
past tenseruled
past participleruled
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to officially control or govern a country or area
    rule over:

    At that time, the Emperor ruled over most of Europe and North Africa.

    Spain ruled Cuba for nearly four centuries.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to make and announce a decision, usually about a legal matter

    The police have ruled the death a homicide.

    rule on:

    The court still has not ruled on the Swift case.

    rule (that):

    A federal judge ruled that the city must make all their financial records public.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to influence someone’s thoughts or actions

    Money and music rule Charlie’s world.

    We must not allow ourselves to be ruled by sentiment in this matter.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to be more important or successful than anyone or anything else

    In the world of fashion, Dior ruled supreme.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

deep learning

a form of machine learning which incorporates the use of neural networks

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play