rise through the ranks

Also, rise from the ranks; come up through the ranks. Work one's way to the top, as in He's risen through the ranks, starting as a copyboy and ending up as senior editor. Originally this term was used for an officer who had worked his way up from the rank of private, a rare feat. It was being applied to nonmilitary advances by the mid-1800s. Also see come up, def. 4.


Nearby words

  1. rise,
  2. rise above,
  3. rise and shine,
  4. rise from the ashes,
  5. rise in the world,
  6. rise to,
  7. rise to the bait,
  8. rise to the occasion,
  9. risen,
  10. riser

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