[ rangk ]
See synonyms for rank on Thesaurus.com
  1. a number of persons forming a separate class in a social hierarchy or in any graded body.

  2. a social or official position or standing, as in the armed forces: the rank of captain.

  1. high position or station in the social or some similar scale: a woman of rank.

  2. a class in any scale of comparison.

  3. relative position or standing: a writer of the first rank.

  4. a row, line, or series of things or persons: orchestra players arranged in ranks.

  5. ranks,

    • the members of an armed service apart from its officers; enlisted personnel.

    • military enlisted personnel as a group.

  6. Usually ranks . the general body of any party, society, or organization apart from the officers or leaders.

  7. orderly arrangement; array.

  8. a line of persons, especially soldiers, standing abreast in close-order formation (distinguished from file).

  9. British. a place or station occupied by vehicles available for hire; stand: a taxi rank.

  10. Chess, Checkers. one of the horizontal lines of squares on a chessboard or checkerboard.

  11. a set of organ pipes of the same kind and tonal color.

  12. Also called determinant rank .Mathematics. the order of the nonzero determinant of greatest order that can be selected from a given matrix by the elimination of rows and columns.

  13. Mining. the classification of coal according to hardness, from lignite to anthracite.

verb (used with object)
  1. to arrange in ranks or in regular formation: The men were ranked according to height. He ranked the chess pieces on the board.

  2. to assign to a particular position, station, class, etc.: She was ranked among the most admired citizens.

  1. to outrank: The colonel ranks all other officers in the squadron.

  2. Slang. to insult; criticize.

verb (used without object)
  1. to form a rank or ranks.

  2. to take up or occupy a place in a particular rank, class, etc.: to rank well ahead of the other students.

  1. to have rank or standing.

  2. to be the senior in rank: The colonel ranks at this camp.

  3. Slang. to complain.

Idioms about rank

  1. break ranks,

    • to leave an assigned position in a military formation.

    • to disagree with, defect from, or refuse to support one's colleagues, party, or the like.

  2. pull rank (on), to make use of one's superior rank to gain an advantage over (someone).: Also pull one's rank (on).

Origin of rank

First recorded in 1560–70; from French ranc (noun, obsolete), Old French renc, ranc, rang “row, line,” from Germanic, akin to ring1

Other words for rank

Other words from rank

  • rankless, adjective
  • un·ranked, adjective

Words Nearby rank

Other definitions for rank (2 of 3)

[ rangk ]

adjective,rank·er, rank·est.
  1. growing with excessive luxuriance; vigorous and tall of growth: tall rank weeds.

  2. producing an excessive and coarse growth, as land.

  1. having an offensively strong smell or taste: a rank cigar.

  2. offensively strong, as a smell or taste.

  3. utter; absolute: a rank amateur; rank treachery.

  4. highly offensive; disgusting: a rank sight of carnage.

  5. grossly coarse, vulgar, or indecent: rank language.

  6. Slang. inferior; contemptible.

Origin of rank

First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English ranc “bold, proud, mature, showy”; cognate with Old Norse rakkr “slender, straight, bold”; the original Germanic sense was probably “upright”; the development of the meanings in English is uncertain

synonym study For rank

6. See flagrant.

Other words for rank

Other words from rank

  • rankish, adjective
  • rankly, adverb
  • rankness, noun

Other definitions for Rank (3 of 3)

[ rahngk ]

  1. Ot·to [awt-oh], /ˈɔt oʊ/, 1884–1939, Austrian psychoanalyst.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rank in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rank (1 of 3)


/ (ræŋk) /

  1. a position, esp an official one, within a social organization, esp the armed forces: the rank of captain

  2. high social or other standing; status

  1. a line or row of people or things

  2. the position of an item in any ordering or sequence

  3. British a place where taxis wait to be hired

  4. a line of soldiers drawn up abreast of each other: Compare file 1 (def. 5)

  5. any of the eight horizontal rows of squares on a chessboard

  6. (in systemic grammar) one of the units of description of which a grammar is composed. Ranks of English grammar are sentence, clause, group, word, and morpheme

  7. music a set of organ pipes controlled by the same stop

  8. maths (of a matrix) the largest number of linearly independent rows or columns; the number of rows (or columns) of the nonzero determinant of greatest order that can be extracted from the matrix

  9. break ranks military to fall out of line, esp when under attack

  10. close ranks to maintain discipline or solidarity, esp in anticipation of attack

  11. pull rank to get one's own way by virtue of one's superior position or rank

  1. (tr) to arrange (people or things) in rows or lines; range

  2. to accord or be accorded a specific position in an organization, society, or group

  1. (tr) to array (a set of objects) as a sequence, esp in terms of the natural arithmetic ordering of some measure of the elements: to rank students by their test scores

  2. (intr) to be important; rate: money ranks low in her order of priorities

  3. mainly US to take precedence or surpass in rank: the colonel ranks at this camp

Origin of rank

C16: from Old French ranc row, rank, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German hring circle

British Dictionary definitions for rank (2 of 3)


/ (ræŋk) /

  1. showing vigorous and profuse growth: rank weeds

  2. highly offensive or disagreeable, esp in smell or taste

  1. (prenominal) complete or absolute; utter: a rank outsider

  2. coarse or vulgar; gross: his language was rank

Origin of rank

Old English ranc straight, noble; related to Old Norse rakkr upright, Dutch, Swedish rank tall and thin, weak

Derived forms of rank

  • rankly, adverb
  • rankness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Rank (3 of 3)


  1. (ræŋk) J (oseph) Arthur, 1st Baron. 1888–1972, British industrialist and film executive, whose companies dominated the British film industry in the 1940s and 1950s

  2. (German raŋk) Otto (ˈɔto). 1884–1939, Austrian psychoanalyst, noted for his theory that the trauma of birth may be reflected in certain forms of mental illness

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 rank


In addition to the idiom beginning with rank

  • rank and file

also see:

  • break ranks
  • close ranks
  • pull rank
  • rise through the ranks

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