the rules of the game

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Also found in: Financial, Acronyms.

the rules of the game

General standards, guidelines, or governing principles of how something is done or how one should behave in a given situation or endeavor, especially those that are informal or unspoken. Unfortunately, smear tactics and name calling are just part of the rules of the game in an election these days.
See also: game, of, rule

the rules of the ˈgame

the standards of behaviour that most people accept or that actually operate in a particular area of life or business: It was a very competitive and aggressive business, so I had to learn the rules of the game very quickly.
See also: game, of, rule