rule out

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rule out (third-person singular simple present rules out, present participle ruling out, simple past and past participle ruled out)

  1. (transitive) To cross an item out by drawing a straight line through it, as with a ruler.
  2. (idiomatic, transitive) To reject an option from a list of possibilities.
    As John Doe had an alibi, the police were able to rule him out as a suspect.
    • 1960 December, “The first hundred 25 kV a.c. electric locomotives for B.R.”, in Trains Illustrated, page 726:
      In general, steel springs were stipulated for primary suspension, although rubber was accepted for auxiliary springing; hydraulic dampers were specified and the use of laminated springs ruled out.
    • 2013 January 3, Luke Harding, Uki Goni, The Guardian[1]:
      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has categorically ruled out any new negotiations saying the future of the Falklands can only be decided by the islanders themselves in accordance with the UN principle of self-determination.
    • 2020 April 8, “Network News: MML still on electrification agenda”, in Rail, page 23:
      Electrification of the Midland Main Line has not been ruled out.
  3. (idiomatic, transitive) To make something impossible.
    The constant rain ruled out any chance of a game of tennis.
  4. (transitive) To disallow.
    • 2010 December 29, Sam Sheringham, “Liverpool 0 - 1 Wolverhampton”, in BBC[2]:
      And Martin Skrtel's late headed goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
  5. (transitive) To make unavailable.
    • 2014 November 14, Stephen Halliday, “Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland: Maloney the hero”, in The Scotsman[3]:
      Flair and invention were very much at a premium, suffocated by the relentless pace and often fractious nature of proceedings. The absence of James Morrison from the centre of Scotland’s midfield, the West Brom man ruled out on the morning of the game by illness, had already diminished the creative capacity of the home side in that department.