- (idiomatic) A fundamental rule or principle.
1859, Charles Darwin, chapter 10, in On the Origin of Species:
- It is all-important to remember that naturalists have no golden rule by which to distinguish species and varieties.
- (ethics) The principle that one should treat other people in the manner in which one would want to be treated by them.
1818, Sir Walter Scott, chapter 2, in Rob Roy:
- "Mr. Francis seems to understand the fundamental principle of all moral accounting, the great ethic rule of three. Let A do to B, as he would have B do to him; the product will give the rule of conduct required." My father smiled at this reduction of the golden rule to arithmetical form.
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