Rule of three
Rule Rule, n. [OE. reule, riule, OF. riule, reule, F. r['e]gle, fr. L. regula a ruler, rule, model, fr. regere, rectum, to lead straight, to direct. See {Right}, a., and cf. {Regular}.] 1. That which is prescribed or laid down as a guide for conduct or action; a governing direction for a specific purpose; an authoritative enactment; a regulation; a prescription; a precept; as, the rules of various societies; the rules governing a school; a rule of etiquette or propriety; the rules of cricket. [1913 Webster]

We profess to have embraced a religion which contains the most exact rules for the government of our lives. --Tillotson. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence: (a) Uniform or established course of things. [1913 Webster]

'T is against the rule of nature. --Shak. [1913 Webster] (b) Systematic method or practice; as, my ule is to rise at six o'clock. (c) Ordibary course of procedure; usual way; comon state or condition of things; as, it is a rule to which there are many exeptions. (d) Conduct in general; behavior. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

This uncivil rule; she shall know of it. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. The act of ruling; administration of law; government; empire; authority; control. [1913 Webster]

Obey them that have the rule over you. --Heb. xiii. 17. [1913 Webster]

His stern rule the groaning land obeyed. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

4. (Law) An order regulating the practice of the courts, or an order made between parties to an action or a suit. --Wharton. [1913 Webster]

5. (Math.) A determinate method prescribed for performing any operation and producing a certain result; as, a rule for extracting the cube root. [1913 Webster]

6. (Gram.) A general principle concerning the formation or use of words, or a concise statement thereof; thus, it is a rule in England, that s or es, added to a noun in the singular number, forms the plural of that noun; but ``man'' forms its plural ``men'', and is an exception to the rule. [1913 Webster]

7. (a) A straight strip of wood, metal, or the like, which serves as a guide in drawing a straight line; a ruler. (b) A measuring instrument consisting of a graduated bar of wood, ivory, metal, or the like, which is usually marked so as to show inches and fractions of an inch, and jointed so that it may be folded compactly. [1913 Webster]

A judicious artist will use his eye, but he will trust only to his rule. --South. [1913 Webster]

8. (Print.) (a) A thin plate of metal (usually brass) of the same height as the type, and used for printing lines, as between columns on the same page, or in tabular work. (b) A composing rule. See under {Conposing}. [1913 Webster]

{As a rule}, as a general thing; in the main; usually; as, he behaves well, as a rule.

{Board rule}, {Caliber rule}, etc. See under {Board}, {Caliber}, etc.

{Rule joint}, a knuckle joint having shoulders that abut when the connected pieces come in line with each other, and thus permit folding in one direction only.

{Rule of the road} (Law), any of the various regulations imposed upon travelers by land or water for their mutual convenience or safety. In the United States it is a rule of the road that land travelers passing in opposite directions shall turn out each to his own right, and generally that overtaking persons or vehicles shall turn out to the left; in England the rule for vehicles (but not for pedestrians) is the opposite of this.

{Rule of three} (Arith.), that rule which directs, when three terms are given, how to find a fourth, which shall have the same ratio to the third term as the second has to the first; proportion. See {Proportion}, 5 (b) .

{Rule of thumb}, any rude process or operation, like that of using the thumb as a rule in measuring; hence, judgment and practical experience as distinguished from scientific knowledge. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rule of Three — may refer to: *Rule of three (medicine), judgement of likelihood of harm in drug trials. *Rule of three (Wiccan), a tenet of Wicca *Rule of three (mathematics), a computation method in mathematics *Rule of three (writing), a principle of writing… …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of three — Three Three, n. 1. The number greater by a unit than two; three units or objects. [1913 Webster] 2. A symbol representing three units, as 3 or iii. [1913 Webster] {Rule of three}. (Arith.) See under {Rule}, n. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rule of three (programming) — Rule of three is a code Refactoring rule of thumb to decide when a replicated piece of code should be replaced by a new procedure. It states that you are allowed to copy and paste the code once, but that when the same code is replicated three… …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of Three (play) — Rule of Three is a set of three one act plays by British author and playwright Agatha Christie. It was first published in 1963. The three plays are entitled The Rats , Afternoon at the Seaside , and The Patient …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of three (writing) — For other uses, see Rule of Three. The Three Bears The rule of three is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The… …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of Three (Wiccan) — The Rule of Three (also threefold law or law of return) is a tenet of the Neopagan religion of Wicca. It claims that whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times.… …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of three (C++ programming) — The rule of three (also known as the Law of The Big Three or The Big Three) is a rule of thumb in C++ that claims that if a class or struct defines one of the following it should probably explicitly define all threecite book last = Stroustrup… …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of three (medicine) — The rule of three states that, if no major adverse events occurred in a clinical trial of a drug, then there can be 95% confidence that major adverse events do not happen more often than one in n/3 people, where n is the number of people in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of three (aviation) — The rule of three in aviation usage refers to the 3:1 rule of descent , in that 3miles of travel should be allowed for every 1000 feet descent …   Wikipedia

  • Rule of the road — Rule Rule, n. [OE. reule, riule, OF. riule, reule, F. r[ e]gle, fr. L. regula a ruler, rule, model, fr. regere, rectum, to lead straight, to direct. See {Right}, a., and cf. {Regular}.] 1. That which is prescribed or laid down as a guide for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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