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A basic guideline or governing principle of procedural conduct in a given situation or endeavor. Often used in the plural ("ground rules"). The phrase is a reference to baseball, in which different ballparks have specific ground rules that govern play for that particular field. Before we begin the debate, let's establish some ground rules about what may and may not be discussed OK, class, here are the ground rules: no talking during class and no cell phones. Follow those and you'll stay on my good side.
Basic guidelines or governing principles of procedural conduct in a given situation or endeavor. A reference to baseball, where the ground rules govern the rule of play specific to different ballparks. Before we begin the debate, let's establish some ground rules about what may and may not be discussed.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Basic procedures of conduct, as in The press secretary sets the ground rules for all of the President's press conferences. The term comes from baseball, where it refers to specific rules for a particular ballpark, which are based on special conditions such as a very high outfield fence or a field obstruction of some kind. It began to be transferred to more general use in the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.