- a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited: a clothes rack; a luggage rack.
- a fixture containing several tiered shelves, often affixed to a wall: a book rack; a spice rack.
- a spreading framework set on a wagon for carrying hay, straw, or the like, in large loads.
- a wooden frame of triangular shape within which the balls are arranged before play.
- the balls so arranged: He took aim at the rack.
- a bar, with teeth on one of its sides, adapted to engage with the teeth of a pinion (rack and pinion) or the like, as for converting circular into rectilinear motion or vice versa.
- a bar having a series of notches engaging with a pawl or the like.
- a former instrument of torture consisting of a framework on which a victim was tied, often spread-eagled, by the wrists and ankles, to be slowly stretched by spreading the parts of the framework.
- a cause or state of intense suffering of body or mind.
- torment; anguish.
- violent strain.
- a pair of antlers.
- Slang. a bed, cot, or bunk: I spent all afternoon in the rack.
- to torture; distress acutely; torment: His body was racked with pain.
- to strain in mental effort: to rack one's brains.
- to strain by physical force or violence.
- to strain beyond what is normal or usual.
- to stretch the body of (a person) in torture by means of a rack.
- Nautical. to seize (two ropes) together side by side.
- rack out, Slang. to go to bed; go to sleep: I racked out all afternoon.
- rack up,
- Pool.to put (the balls) in a rack.
- Informal.to tally, accumulate, or amass as an achievement or score: The corporation racked up the greatest profits in its history.
Origin of rack1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- ruin or destruction; wrack.
- rack up, Slang. to wreck, especially a vehicle.
- go to rack and ruin, to decay, decline, or become destroyed: His property went to rack and ruin in his absence.
Origin of rack2
- the fast pace of a horse in which the legs move in lateral pairs but not simultaneously.
- (of horses) to move in a rack.
Origin of rack3
- Also called cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.
- to drive or move, especially before the wind.
Origin of rack4
- to draw off (wine, cider, etc.) from the lees.
Origin of rack5
- the neck portion of mutton, pork, or veal.
- the rib section of a foresaddle of lamb, mutton, or sometimes veal.
Origin of rack6
Examples from the Web for rack
The clever crooks managed to rack up $2 million in profits over a year, Ares said.The Insane $11 Billion Scam at Retailers’ Return Desks
December 19, 2014
Whereas other brands purchase their barrels from big producers more or less off the rack, The Macallan starts in the forest.How Much Do Whisky Casks Really Affect Taste?
December 10, 2014
He put them in glamorous gowns, yes, but also encouraged them to buy trendier ready-to-wear labels off the rack.How Oscar de la Renta Created First Lady Fashion
October 21, 2014
Jenny and Ichabod rack their brains before eventually deciding to hunt for the missing Franklin documents at the archives.Naked Ben Franklin Christens the Campy Return of ‘Sleepy Hollow’
September 23, 2014
Looking for a place to get a salad, we pass a gift shop with a rack of dresses near the doorway.The Stacks: The Inimitable Albert Brooks Caught at the Dawn of His Movie Career
April 13, 2014
He went across to the hotel, tied the gelding at the rack, and sat down on the veranda.Way of the Lawless
In the bottom of the pan is a rack upon which the meat may rest.Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 3
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
They fought for bread, as horses when there is no hay in the rack.The Boy Life of Napoleon
Were it not better that they should die on the field than by the rack?Leila, Complete
He went into Mr. Galloway's room, and brought forth the three letters from the rack.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
- a framework for holding, carrying, or displaying a specific load or objecta plate rack; a hat rack; a hay rack; a luggage rack
- a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions
- a framework fixed to an aircraft for carrying bombs, rockets, etc
- the rack an instrument of torture that stretched the body of the victim
- a cause or state of mental or bodily stress, suffering, etc; anguish; torment (esp in the phrase on the rack)
- slang, mainly US a woman's breasts
- US and Canadian (in pool, snooker, etc)
- the triangular frame used to arrange the balls for the opening shot
- the balls so groupedBrit equivalent: frame
- to torture on the rack
- Also: wrack to cause great stress or suffering toguilt racked his conscience
- Also: wrack to strain or shake (something) violently, as by great physical forcethe storm racked the town
- to place or arrange in or on a rackto rack bottles of wine
- to move (parts of machinery or a mechanism) using a toothed rack
- to raise (rents) exorbitantly; rack-rent
- rack one's brains to strain in mental effort, esp to remember something or to find the solution to a problem
- destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)
- another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse
- a group of broken clouds moving in the wind
- (intr) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind
- to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs
- to fill a container with (beer, wine, etc)
- the neck or rib section of mutton, pork, or veal
Word Origin and History for rack
"frame with bars," c.1300, possibly from Middle Dutch rec "framework," literally "something stretched out, related to recken (modern rekken) "stretch out," cognate with Old English reccan "to stretch out," from Proto-Germanic *rak- (cf. Old Saxon rekkian, Old Frisian reza, Old Norse rekja, Old High German recchen, German recken, Gothic uf-rakjan "to stretch out"), from PIE *rog-, from root *reg- "to move in a straight line" (see regal).
Meaning "instrument of torture" first recorded early 15c., perhaps from German rackbank, originally an implement for stretching leather, etc. Mechanical meaning "toothed bar" is from 1797 (see pinion). Meaning "set of antlers" is first attested 1945, American English; hence slang sense of "a woman's breasts" (especially if large), by 1991. Meaning "framework for displaying clothes" is from 1948; hence off the rack (1951) of clothing, as opposed to tailored.
type of gait of a horse, 1580s, from rack (v.) "move with a fast, lively gait" 1520s in this sense (implied in racking), of unknown origin; perhaps from French racquassure "racking of a horse in his pace," itself of unknown origin. Or perhaps a variant of rock (v.1).
"clouds driven before the wind," c.1300, also "rush of wind, collision, crash," originally a northern word, possibly from Old English racu "cloud" (or an unrecorded Scandinavian cognate of it), reinforced by Old Norse rek "wreckage, jetsam," or by influence of Old English wræc "something driven;" from Proto-Germanic *wrakaz, from PIE root *wreg- "to push, shove" (see wreak-). Often confused with wrack (n.), especially in phrase rack and ruin (1590s). The distinction is that rack is "driven clouds;" wrack is "seaweed cast up on shore."
"to stretch out for drying," also "to torture on the rack," early 15c., from rack (n.1). Of other pains from 1580s. Figurative sense of "to torment" is from c.1600. Meaning "raise above a fair level" (of rent, etc.) is from 1550s. Meaning "fit with racks" is from 1580s. Teenager slang meaning "to sleep" is from 1960s (rack (n.) was Navy slang for "bed" in 1940s). Related: Racked; racking. Rack up "register, accumulate, achieve" is first attested 1943 (in "Billboard"), probably from method of keeping score in pool halls.
"cut of animal meat and bones," 1560s, of unknown origin; perhaps from some resemblance to rack (n.1). Cf. rack-bone "vertebrae" (1610s).
Idioms and Phrases with rack
In addition to the idioms beginning with rack
- rack and ruin, go to
- rack one's brain
- rack out
- rack up
- on the rack