Middle English Dictionary Entry

reule n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. regol n.
(a) A general principle governing morals and conduct; also, fig. of Christ: a model or norm for morality; (b) a particular rule of conduct, a moral precept; ~ of largesse (prudence); (c) a set of rules covering the whole of morality; ~ of lif (living); (d) a maxim, motto.
(a) The set of regulations governing a religious order; also, a particular item among such regulations; also fig. of Scripture; ~ of habit; bi ~; oute of ~, without regard to the rule; (b) ~ of seint austin (basil, benet, maur, paul); seint benets (frauncis) ~; canounes ~; (c) a religious order; (d) ~ cote, a tunic worn by certain religious while undergoing penance.
(a) A pattern of behavior, way of life, habit of living; also, a course of life; (b) conduct, behavior; (c) a regimen for health.
(a) Control, government, jurisdiction; also, discipline [quot.: c1475(?c1400)]; (b) haven a ~, to exercise authority, have a position of authority; haven oune ~, be uncontrolled; haven (a) ~ of, haven in ~, have control or charge of (sth.); haven the ~ of, have control of (sb. or sth.); taken a (the) ~, take over authority, take charge; taken ~ of, taken in ~, take command or charge of (sth.); (c) an act of managing, deciding; a decision; (d) a specific order or directive; law a court order; (e) influence; (f) reules of holi chirche, the church's disciplinary regulations; (g) ?a specific limit of activity or an area of authority laid down by God.
(a) Order, good order; in ~ and route, in an orderly company; putten in a ~, to settle (a dispute, difference); setten a ~ in, put (affairs) in order; setten in (a) ~, arrange (business affairs); put (one's life, virtues, troops) in order; (b) god (right) ~; shreued ~; oute of ~, in disorder, disorderly, unruly; also, extravagant, extraordinary; withouten ~, extraordinary; (c) logical or chronological order; bi ~.
(a) A law; a custom having the force of law; also, a bylaw; (b) a regulation for an institution, as a guild, etc.; a rubric for services at a particular church; (c) a regular practice, custom; (d) a religious observance, ritual.
(a) A principle of an art or a branch of learning, as arithmetic, grammar, etc.; an axiom, a proposition; (b) a general guide in a particular activity, norm of practice; (c) med. & surg. instruction for cure, method of procedure; ~ of opposites, the principle of curing by counterbalancing qualities causing disease.
(a) A law of nature; (b) a natural controlling factor.
(a) A ruler, straightedge; also person.; also, a level; ~ right, aligned straight as a ruler; ~ ston, a stone ruler or straightedge; -- person.; (b) a rod, bar; (c) the alidade of an astrolabe; (d) measurement; also, apportioned measure, limit.
(a) A row of figures, etc.; in ~, in a row; (b) mus. one of the lines in the staff.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1225 Wor.Bod.Gloss.(Hat 115:Pope)628/112 : Riule [OE: æfter þam boclican regole, ne sceolde nan man bearneacnigendum wife genealæcan].
  • Note: Antedates most senses

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1475 Yale-BA.Artist.Recipes (Yale-BA R486.M43 1450) 92/28 : Take a pensell or a pene and draw smale rewlys on blewe letteris with þe ceruse.
  • Note: Glossary: "rewlys n. pl. 'rules, lines'."
    Note: ?New sense, or ?modify sense 10.(b). Cf. OED rule, n.1, sense 16. 'A straight line drawn on paper; spec. one of the lines of a stave of music.'

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: The compound ~ stone (sense 9.(a)) remains cryptic. MED here suggests 'stone ruler or straightedge' (i.e. presumably a straightedge made of stone), "but given that this poem is the only evidence, there seems no particular reason to favour this unlikely interpretation. Salzman [in Building in England] suggested it was a plummet or plumb-bob...; however [E.] Wilson [in RES N.S. 38 (1987), 445-70] pointed out that the terms 'plummet' and 'plumb' were well known in Middle English and readily available to the poet if this is what he meant." -- John Clark, "The Debate of the Carpenter's Tools Revisited," Newsletter [of the] Tools and Trades History Society 119 (Winter 2012), p. 4. If 'rewle' is instead taken as a form of rolle n. (as in the usual interpretation of the phrase 'wyndas-rewle' in the same poem) or rollen v.(2), then other possibilities open up, e.g. a stone roller (= rollere n.(1) sense (e)) for shifting timbers, or even a tool, such as a lever or pinch bar, used to roll or overturn stones. For the latter, compare the compound 'draught-nayle' (draught n. sense 12.(b)), if that be reinterpreted as a verb + objective compound, 'pull-nail' = 'nail-puller.'