rule the roost


a perch upon which birds or fowls rest at night.
a large cage, house, or place for fowls or birds to roost in.
a place for sitting, resting, or lodging.
verb (used without object)
to sit or rest on a roost, perch, etc.
to settle or stay, especially for the night.
come home to roost, (of an action) to revert or react unfavorably to the doer; boomerang: an evil deed that came home to roost and ruined his life.
rule the roost, to be in charge or control; dominate: It was only too apparent that his grandfather ruled the roost.

before 1100; Middle English roost (noun), Old English hrōst; cognate with Middle Dutch roest

unroosted, adjective
unroosting, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To rule the roost
World English Dictionary
roost (ruːst)
1.  a place, perch, branch, etc, where birds, esp domestic fowl, rest or sleep
2.  a temporary place to rest or stay
3.  rule the roost See rule
4.  (intr) to rest or sleep on a roost
5.  (intr) to settle down or stay
6.  come home to roost to have unfavourable repercussions
[Old English hrōst; related to Old Saxon hrost loft, German Rost grid]

Roost (ruːst)
the Roost a powerful current caused by conflicting tides around the Shetland and Orkney Islands
[C16: from Old Norse röst]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

late O.E. hrost "wooden framework of a roof, perch," from a Gmc. source, related to O.S. hrost, M.Du., Flem., Du. roest, roost "framework of a roof," O.N. hrot, Goth. hrot "roof." Exact relationship and ulterior connections unknown. The verb is from 1530. To rule the roost is recorded from 1769.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

rule the roost definition

To dominate; to be in charge: “Even though Sally has five older brothers, she still rules the roost.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

rule the roost

Be in charge, boss others, as in In our division the chairman's son rules the roost. This expression originated in the 15th century as rule the roast, which was either a corruption of rooster or alluded to the person who was in charge of the roast and thus ran the kitchen. In the barnyard a rooster decides which hen should roost near him. Both interpretations persisted for 200 years. Thomas Heywood (c. 1630) put it as "Her that ruled the roast in the kitchen," but Shakespeare had it in 2 Henry VI (1:1): "The new-made duke that rules the roast," which is more ambiguous. In the mid-1700s roost began to compete with roast, and in the 1900s roost displaced roast altogether. Also see run the show.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Idioms & Phrases
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature