rack

1
[ rak ]
See synonyms for: rackrackedracking on Thesaurus.com

noun
  1. a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited: a clothes rack;a luggage rack.

  2. a fixture containing several tiered shelves, often affixed to a wall: a book rack;a spice rack.

  1. a vertical framework set on the sides of a wagon and able to be extended upward for carrying hay, straw, or the like in large loads: It's an old wagon, but the bale rack is new.

  2. Pool.

    • a wooden frame of triangular shape within which the balls are arranged before play: When not in use, please return the rack to its peg on the wall.

    • the balls so arranged: He took aim at the rack.

  3. Machinery.

    • 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: When the pinion mounted to the locomotive engages with the rack between the rails, the train can ascend a steep slope.

    • a bar having a series of notches engaging with a pawl or the like: Instead of a round gear, this ratchet has a linear rack with which the pawl makes contact.

  4. 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: The racks were unspeakably horrid devices used for centuries throughout Europe.

  5. a cause or state of intense mental or physical suffering, torment, or strain: Too many workers have suffered on the rack of annual, painful increases in their health insurance premiums.

  6. a pair of antlers: What hunting lodge would be complete without an eight-point rack mounted above the fireplace?

  7. Slang: Vulgar. a woman's breasts.

  8. Slang. a large quantity of money, especially one thousand dollars: I spent a whole rack on this fancy dinner and it wasn't worth it.The engagement ring he bought her cost a couple of racks.

  9. Slang. a bed, cot, or bunk, especially in an institutional context such as the military or a prison: I spent all afternoon in my rack.

verb (used with object)
  1. to torture; distress acutely; torment: His body was racked with pain.

  2. to strain in mental effort: She racked her brains to come up with an excuse not to go to the party.

  1. to strain by physical force or violence: Was this suspect racked into a confession?

  2. to strain beyond what is normal or usual: This extreme exercise is racking your muscles.

  3. formerly, to stretch the body of (a person) in torture by means of a rack: The prisoner will be taken to the dungeon to be racked.

  4. Nautical. to seize (two ropes) together side by side: Rack those lines, mate!

Verb Phrases
  1. rack out, Slang. to go to bed; go to sleep: I racked out all afternoon.

  2. rack up,

    • Informal. to tally, accumulate, or amass, as an achievement or score: The corporation racked up the greatest profits in its history.

    • Pool. to put (the balls) in a rack: You rack 'em up, and I'll break.

Origin of rack

1
First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun rakke, rekke, from Middle Dutch rac, rec, recke; compare Middle Low German reck, German Reck

synonym study For rack

12. See torment.

Other words for rack

Other words from rack

  • rack·ing·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with rack

Other definitions for rack (2 of 6)

rack2
[ rak ]

noun
  1. ruin or destruction; wrack:We found our boat in a complete state of rack.

Verb Phrases
  1. rack up, Slang. to wreck, especially a vehicle: People don't realize how easy it is to rack up a car in this fog.

Origin of rack

2
First recorded in 1590–1600; variant of wrack

Other definitions for rack (3 of 6)

rack3
[ rak ]

noun
  1. the fast pace of a horse in which the legs move in lateral pairs but not simultaneously: Playing the video in slow motion catches each footfall in the horse's rack.

verb (used without object)
  1. (of horses) to move in a rack: a group of mustangs racking at top speed.

Origin of rack

3
First recorded in 1570–80; perhaps variant of rock2

Other definitions for rack (4 of 6)

rack4
[ rak ]

noun
  1. Also called cloud rack . a group of drifting clouds: The first rays of dawn struggle to pierce the dreary rack of storm clouds.

verb (used without object)
  1. be driven or moved, as a cloud, before the wind: a wispy train of clouds racking to our west.

Origin of rack

4
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English rak, reck(e); further origin uncertain
  • Also wrack .

Other definitions for rack (5 of 6)

rack5
[ rak ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to draw off (wine, cider, etc.) from the lees: How recently was this wine racked into a clean barrel?

Origin of rack

5
First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Old French; compare obsolete French raqué “(of wine) pressed from the dregs of grapes”

Other definitions for rack (6 of 6)

rack6
[ rak ]

noun
  1. the rib section of a foresaddle of lamb, mutton, pork, or sometimes veal: a roasted rack of lamb with potatoes and asparagus.

  2. (formerly) the neck portion of mutton, pork, or veal.

Origin of rack

6
First recorded in 1560–70; origin uncertain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use rack in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rack (1 of 6)

rack1

/ (ræk) /


noun
  1. a framework for holding, carrying, or displaying a specific load or object: a plate rack; a hat rack; a hay rack; a luggage rack

  2. a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions

  1. a framework fixed to an aircraft for carrying bombs, rockets, etc

  2. the rack an instrument of torture that stretched the body of the victim

  3. a cause or state of mental or bodily stress, suffering, etc; anguish; torment (esp in the phrase on the rack)

  4. slang, mainly US a woman's breasts

  5. US and Canadian (in pool, snooker, etc)

    • the triangular frame used to arrange the balls for the opening shot

    • the balls so grouped: Brit equivalent: frame

verb(tr)
  1. to torture on the rack

  2. Also: wrack to cause great stress or suffering to: guilt racked his conscience

  1. Also: wrack to strain or shake (something) violently, as by great physical force: the storm racked the town

  2. to place or arrange in or on a rack: to rack bottles of wine

  3. to move (parts of machinery or a mechanism) using a toothed rack

  4. to raise (rents) exorbitantly; rack-rent

  5. rack one's brains to strain in mental effort, esp to remember something or to find the solution to a problem

Origin of rack

1
C14 rekke, probably from Middle Dutch rec framework; related to Old High German recchen to stretch, Old Norse rekja to spread out

rack

Derived forms of rack

  • racker, noun

British Dictionary definitions for rack (2 of 6)

rack2

/ (ræk) /


noun
  1. destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)

Origin of rack

2
C16: variant of wrack 1

British Dictionary definitions for rack (3 of 6)

rack3

/ (ræk) /


noun
  1. another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse

Origin of rack

3
C16: perhaps based on rock ²

British Dictionary definitions for rack (4 of 6)

rack4

/ (ræk) /


noun
  1. a group of broken clouds moving in the wind

verb
  1. (intr) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind

Origin of rack

4
Old English wrǣc what is driven; related to Gothic wraks persecutor, Swedish vrak wreckage

British Dictionary definitions for rack (5 of 6)

rack5

/ (ræk) /


verb(tr)
  1. to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs

  2. to fill a container with (beer, wine, etc)

Origin of rack

5
C15: from Old Provençal arraca, from raca dregs of grapes after pressing

British Dictionary definitions for rack (6 of 6)

rack6

/ (ræk) /


noun
  1. the neck or rib section of mutton, pork, or veal

Origin of rack

6
Old English hrace; related to Old High German rahho, Danish harke, Swedish harkla to clear one's throat

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with rack

rack

In addition to the idioms beginning with rack

  • rack and ruin, go to
  • rack one's brain
  • rack out
  • rack up

also see:

  • on the rack

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.