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Borrowed from Latin regulatus, past participle of regulare (to direct, rule, regulate), from regula (rule), from regere (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.
    • Macaulay
      the laws which regulate the successions of the seasons
    • Bancroft
      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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