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[ranch] /ræntʃ/
an establishment maintained for raising livestock under range conditions.
Chiefly Western U.S. and Canada. a large farm used primarily to raise one kind of crop or animal:
a mink ranch.
the persons employed or living on a ranch.
verb (used without object)
to manage or work on a ranch.
Origin of ranch
1800-10, Americanism; < Spanish rancho rancho
Related forms
ranchless, adjective
ranchlike, adjective
unranched, adjective
Can be confused
ranch, wrench. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ranching
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They gave us our most distinctive occupation, ranching on the open range.

  • In his ranching days, that training with his fists stood him in good stead.

  • They would live in a town, and it would be business life, which he cared for as he had never come to care for ranching.

    Fidelity Susan Glaspell
  • While allied by every tie of blood to the ranching interests, he had never been identified with them.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • The suggestion came from Irene's husband, who had been attracted to California by this lure of "ranching."

    Clark's Field Robert Herrick
  • A bit of ranching and 39 my work here in the shop keeps me busy enough.

British Dictionary definitions for ranching


a large tract of land, esp one in North America, together with the necessary personnel, buildings, and equipment, for rearing livestock, esp cattle
  1. any large farm for the rearing of a particular kind of livestock or crop: a mink ranch
  2. the buildings, land, etc, connected with it
(intransitive) to manage or run a ranch
(transitive) to raise (animals) on or as if on a ranch
Word Origin
C19: from Mexican Spanish rancho small farm; see rancho
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ranching



1808, "country house," from American Spanish rancho "small farm, group of farm huts," from Spanish rancho "mess-room," originally, "group of people who eat together," from ranchear "to lodge or station," from Old French ranger "install in position," from rang "row, line" (see rank (n.)).

Sense of "large stock-farm and herding establishment" is from 1831. Of houses, "single-story, split-level" (adj.) from 1950; as a noun from 1960. Ranch-house attested from 1862.


1866, from ranch (n.). Related: Ranched; ranching.



1866, from ranch (n.). Related: Ranched; ranching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ranching


Related Terms

buy the farm, hencoop

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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