rule, guide, direct

Quick Summary

The Latin root reg and its variant rect mean “rule” or “guide.” These roots are the word origins of a good number of English vocabulary words, including regal, regular, rectify and correct. The roots reg and rect are easily recalled through the words regime, a system of government currently “ruling” in a given area and time, and direct, which means to “guide” to a place.

The Regal Roots "Reg" and "Rect" Rule!

The root reg and its variant rect mean “rule” or “guide.” “Ruling” people and “guiding” them are similar: “ruling” is telling people what to do, whereas “guiding” features pointed suggestions to do certain things—hence both are steering people in particular directions. This podcast will direct you in a regular fashion, serving as a “guide” to words containing the roots reg and rect.

When you do something in the regular way, you follow the “rules” when doing it. Don’t follow the “rules” and your actions will be considered irregular. A regular king, for instance, or regal person who “rules” over a kingdom, “rules” with fairness and justice towards his people. One who “rules” his people in an irregular way by treating them harshly and unfairly may soon suffer the consequences of regicide, or the killing of the king. Following such a death, an interregnum might have to be declared, or the time in which there is no king to “rule.” And, if a king is too young or too sick to “rule,” a regent “rules” in his stead. When a new king is ready to “rule,” the regent will cede his rulership to him, who will then take control over a region, or area of land which the king “rules” (usually referred to as a kingdom). A regnal period for a monarchy refers to the years during which a queen or king “ruled,” that is, the time of her or his reign. And if a governmental body is into regulation, it “rules” over or “guides” the operation of an industry, say banking, which often needs a lot of oversight or regulating.

A variant of the root reg is rect, which can mean “rule” or “guide.” Directions, for instance, “guide” you to the right destination, whereas if you’ve made the correct guess about an answer, you’ve been thoroughly “guided” in the right direction. If a wrong situation is rectified, it has been “guided” once again in the right way. And a rector? She or he can “rule” over a church or a university; the rectory is the house where the rector lives.

I hope that you’ve now been “guided” into understanding the “rules” when it comes to the Latin roots reg and rect, leading you to the correct meaning of their English derivatives.

  1. regular: of following the “rules”
  2. irregular: of not following the “rules”
  3. regal: of a king or queen, who “rules”
  4. regicide: the killing of a “ruler,” that is, a queen or king
  5. interregnum: time between “rulers”
  6. regent: one who temporarily “rules” in place of a king or queen
  7. region: originally an area of land over which a king or queen “ruled”
  8. regnal: of the “ruling” period of a monarch
  9. reign: the “ruling” period of a monarch
  10. regulation: the “ruling” over or “guiding” of an industry
  11. regulating: “ruling” over or “guiding” an industry
  12. directions: “guidance” which takes you where you want to go
  13. correct: having been “guided” in the right direction
  14. rectified: “guided” once again in the right way
  15. rector: one who “rules” over a church or university
  16. rectory: house where the “rector” lives
  17. correctly: thoroughly “guided” straight or right


  • incorrigible

    Someone who is incorrigible has bad habits or does bad things and is unlikely to ever change; this word is often used in a humorous way.

  • regime

    A regime is the system of government currently in power in a country; it can also be the controlling group or management of an organization.

  • regimented

    Something that is regimented is organized and controlled by strict rules.

  • irregular

    Something irregular does not act normally; rather, it acts in an unusual way.

  • regulation

    A regulation is a rule or law that orders how people must act or behave.

  • region

    A region is an area of something, such as land in a country or a place on your body, that is not like other areas.

  • reign

    A reign is a period of time during which a queen or king rules; it also means the rule of the queen or king itself.

  • regal

    belonging to or befitting a supreme ruler

  • regalia

    paraphernalia indicative of royalty (or other high office)

  • regency

    the period of time during which a regent governs

  • regent

    acting or functioning as a regent or ruler

  • regicide

    someone who commits regicide

  • regimen

    (medicine) a systematic plan for therapy (often including diet)

  • regiment

    subject to rigid discipline, order, and systematization

  • regnant

    exercising power or authority

  • regular

    in accordance with fixed order or procedure or principle

  • regularity

    a property of polygons: the property of having equal sides and equal angles

  • regulate

    fix or adjust the time, amount, degree, or rate of

  • regulatory

    restricting according to rules or principles

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