Fall out of line or into disorder; also, fail to conform, deviate. For example, The recruits were warned that they must not break ranks, or Harry was told to adhere to the party platform and not break ranks. This idiom uses rank in the sense of “soldiers drawn up in line,” and the term originally referred to their falling into disarray. The figurative usage dates from the mid-1800s.
Words nearby break ranks
How to use break ranks in a sentence
This is the Mexico that U.S. college students would be wise to steer clear of on spring break.Why Mexicans Are Enraged by Obama’s Big Tuesday Meeting|Ruben Navarrette Jr.|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
They included the officers who had turned their backs on the Jumbotron, but there now was only reverence in their ranks.
I was already over forty, had hardly a nickel in my pocket and this was the biggest break in my life.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Ava DuVernay, as New York magazine notes, has now joined their ranks.Dr. King Goes to Hollywood: The Flawed History of ‘Selma’|Gary May|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
This sultry ballad about break-ups and make-ups in the City of Angels is haunting stuff.The 14 Best Songs of 2014: Bobby Shmurda, Future Islands, Drake, and More|Marlow Stern|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Were you ever arrested, having in your custody another man's cash, and would rather go to gaol, than break it?
If old Piegan Smith hadn't been sampling the contents of that keg so industriously he would never have made a break.Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair
General Houston had attacked them with three hundred of our people, but had not been able to break their ranks.
For good or ill, the torrent of rebellion was suffered to break loose, and it soon engulfed a continent.The Red Year|Louis Tracy
Victor was the younger son and brother—a tete montee, with a temper which invited violence and a will which no ax could break.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin