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Borrowed from Latin regulatus, past participle of regulō (to direct, rule, regulate), from regula (rule), from regō (to keep straight, direct, govern, rule). Compare regle, rail.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɛɡjəleɪt/
  • (file)


regulate (third-person singular simple present regulates, present participle regulating, simple past and past participle regulated)

  1. To dictate policy.
  2. To control or direct according to rule, principle, or law.
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 11, in The History of England from the Accession of James II:
      the laws which regulate the succession of the seasons
    • 1834, George Bancroft, History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent
      The herdsmen near the frontier adjudicated their own disputes, and regulated their own police.
  3. To adjust to a particular specification or requirement: regulate temperature.
  4. To adjust (a mechanism) for accurate and proper functioning.
    to regulate a watch, i.e. adjust its rate of running so that it will keep approximately standard time
    to regulate the temperature of a room, the pressure of steam, the speed of a machine, etc.
  5. To put or maintain in order.
    to regulate the disordered state of a nation or its finances
    to regulate one's eating habits

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  1. second-person plural present active imperative of rēgulō