That is why we welcome the big, genial sanity of Walt Whitman, for he has about him the rankness and sweetness of the Earth.
Their flesh has no rankness, nor is inferiour in flavour to our common venison.
Its flesh is white and delicate, and has the usual taste, without any rankness.
And the rankness of the growth of this evil is not more startling than its rapidity.
rankness affords, in fact, a typical illustration of predisposition to disease.
The chief resemblance seemed to be a certain "rankness in cussin'."
Owing to the rankness of its food, the smell of the Fulmar is very offensive.
This it does in some instances by smothering them, through the rankness of the growth.
Like poisonous toadstools in rankness and gloom, the worst of human nature must flourish here.
They seem not to mind its rankness, for the fruit is all taken by the time it has turned black-ripe.
early 14c., "row, line series;" c.1400, a row of an army, from Old French renc, ranc "row, line" (Modern French rang), from Frankish *hring or some other Germanic source (cf. Old High German hring "circle, ring"), from Proto-Germanic *khrengaz "circle, ring" (see ring (n.1)).
Meaning "a social division, class of persons" is from early 15c. Meaning "high station in society" is from early 15c. Meaning "a relative position" is from c.1600.
Old English ranc "proud, overbearing, showy," from Proto-Germanic *rankaz (cf. Danish rank "right, upright," German rank "slender," Old Norse rakkr "straight, erect"), perhaps from PIE *reg- "to stretch, straighten" (see right (adj.)). In reference to plant growth, "vigorous, luxuriant, abundant, copious" it is recorded from c.1300. Related: Rankly; rankness.
Sense evolved in Middle English to "large and coarse" (c.1300), then, via notion of "excessive and unpleasant," to "corrupt, loathsome, foul" (mid-14c.), perhaps from influence of Middle French rance "rancid." In 17c. also "lewd, lustful."
Much used 16c. as a pejorative intensive (cf. rank folly). This is possibly the source of the verb meaning "to reveal another's guilt" (1929, underworld slang), and that of "to harass, abuse," 1934, U.S. black dialect, though this also may be from the role of the activity in establishing social hierarchy (from rank (n.)).
1570s, "arrange in lines;" 1590s, "put in order, classify; assign a rank to," from rank (n.). Related: Ranked; ranking.
[second sense used by 1960s teenagers in the preferred variant rank out, both as a verb phrase and a noun phrase]