The origin of the English words “rights, rules, regulations, royal” (etc)

Royal / regal


1325-75; Middle English < Middle French < Latin rēgālis kingly, equivalent to rēg (stem of rēx) king


1225-75; (noun) Middle English reine, regne < OldFrench reigne < Latin rēgnum realm, reign, derivativeof rēg- (stem of rēx) king


“to hold or exercise sovereign power,” late 13c., fromOld French regner “rule, reign” (12c.), from Latinregnare “have royal power, be king, rule, reign,” fromregnum


early 13c., “kingdom,” from Old French reigne“kingdom, land, country” (Modern French règne), fromLatin regnum “kingship, dominion, rule, realm,” relatedto regere (see regal ). Meaning “period of rule” firstrecorded mid-14c.


1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < LateLatin regimentum, equivalent to Latin reg (ere) to rule

Word Origin and History for regimentExpand

late 14c., “government, rule, control,” from Old French regiment “government, rule” (14c.), from Late Latin regimentum “rule, direction,” from Latin regere “to rule” (see regal ). Meaning “unit of an army” first recorded in 1570s


“to form into a regiment,” 1610s, from regiment (n.).General sense of “organize systematically” is from 1690s.



“one who rules during the minority or absence of sovereign,” c.1400, from the adjective (now archaic,attested in English late 14c.), from Old French regent and directly from Medieval Latin regentem (nominative regens), from Latin regens “ruler, governor,” noun use of present participle of regere “to rule, direct” (see regal )

REGULATE / REGULATIONS / REGULAR (as in consistent):

C17: from Late Latin rēgulāre to control, from Latin rēgula a ruler

early 15c., “adjust by rule, control,” from Late Latin regulatus, past participle of regulare “to control by rule,direct,” from Latin regula “rule” (see regular ). Meaning“to govern by restriction” is from 1620s. Related:Regulated ; regulating.


from: Old English rihtan “to straighten, rule, set up, set right,amend; guide, govern; restore, replace,” from riht(adj.);

from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,”also “to rule, to lead straight, to put right” (see regal;

RULER (including as in measuring stick / yardstick)

Word Origin and History for ruleExpand

c.1200, “principle or maxim governing conduct, formulato which conduct must be conformed” from Old French riule, Norman reule “rule, custom, (religious) order” (inModern French partially re-Latinized as règle), from Vulgar Latin *regula, from Latin regula “straight stick,bar, ruler;” figuratively “a pattern, a model,” related toregere “to rule, straighten, guide” (see regal ).


c.1200, “to control, guide, direct,” from Old Frenchriuler “impose rule,” from Latin regulare (see regulate ).Legal sense “establish by decision” is recorded fromearly 15c. Meaning “mark with lines” is from 1590s.Meaning “to dominate, prevail” is from 1874.


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