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 formsranch·less, adjectiveranch·like, adjectiveun·ranched, adjective
Can be confusedranch wrench
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of ranch

Historical Examples of ranch

British Dictionary definitions for ranch



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 cropa mink ranch
  2. the buildings, land, etc, connected with it


(intr) to manage or run a ranch
(tr) to raise (animals) on or as if on a ranch

Word Origin for ranch

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

Word Origin and History for ranch

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper