Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A wholesale rib cut of lamb or veal between the shoulder and the loin.
  • noun A retail rib cut of lamb or veal, prepared for roasting or for rib chops.
  • noun The neck and upper spine of mutton, pork, or veal.
  • noun A framework or stand in or on which to hold, hang, or display various articles.
  • noun Games A triangular frame for arranging billiard or pool balls at the start of a game.
  • noun A receptacle for livestock feed.
  • noun A frame for holding bombs in an aircraft.
  • noun A bunk or bed.
  • noun Sleep.
  • noun A toothed bar that meshes with a gearwheel, pinion, or other toothed machine part.
  • noun A state of intense anguish.
  • noun A cause of intense anguish.
  • noun An instrument of torture on which the victim's body was stretched.
  • noun A pair of antlers.
  • noun Vulgar Slang A woman's breasts.
  • transitive verb To place (billiard balls, for example) in a rack.
  • transitive verb To cause great physical or mental suffering to: synonym: afflict.
  • transitive verb To torture by means of the rack.
  • idiom (off the rack) Ready-made. Used of clothing.
  • idiom (on the rack) Under great stress.
  • idiom (rack (one's) brains/brain) To try hard to remember or think of something.
  • noun A fast, flashy, four-beat gait of a horse in which each foot touches the ground separately and at equal intervals.
  • intransitive verb To go or move at a rack.
  • transitive verb To drain (wine or cider) from the dregs.
  • noun A thin mass of wind-driven clouds.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drive; move; go forward rapidly; stir.
  • To drive, as flying clouds.
  • noun Thin flying broken clouds; especially, detached fragments of raggy cloud, commonly occurringwith rain-clouds.
  • To stretch; stretch out; strain by force or violence; extend by stretching or straining.
  • To strain so as to rend; wrench by strain or jar; rend; disintegrate; disjoint: as, a racking cough; to rack a ship to pieces by slanting shot.
  • To torture by violent stretching; stretch on a frame by means of a windlass; subject to the punishment of the rack. See rack, n., 2 .
  • Hence To put in torment; affect with great pain or distress; torture in anyway; disturb violently.
  • To strain with anxiety, eagerness, curiosity, or the like; subject to strenuous effort or intense feeling; worry; agitate: as, to rack one's invention or memory.
  • To stretch or draw out of normal condition or relation; strain beyond measure or propriety; wrest; warp; distort; exaggerate; overstrain: chiefly in figurative uses.
  • To exact or obtain by rapacity; get or gain in excess or wrongfully. See rack-rent.
  • To subject to extortion; practise rapacity upon; oppress by exaction.
  • In mining, to wash on the rack. See rack, n., 5 .
  • To place on or in a rack or frame made for the purpose, either for storage or for temporary need, as for draining, drying, or the like.
  • To form into or as if into a rack or grating; give the appearance of a rack to.
  • Nautical, to seize together with cross-turns, as two ropes.
  • noun Same as wrack: now used in the phrases to go to rack, to go to rack and ruin.
  • A dialectal form of reck.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Probably from rack.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English rakke, probably from Middle Dutch rec, framework; see reg- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English rakken, from Old Provençal arracar, from raca, stems and husks of grapes.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English rak, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish rak, wreckage.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English reċċan ("to stretch out, extend")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Old Norse reka ("to be drifted, tost")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

See Dutch rekken

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English rakken

Examples

Comments

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  • Citation on scud.

    July 25, 2008

  • Heavens! The OED lists twelve different nouns and seven verbs, and add to the pot three nouns and four verbs 'wrack', and who knows how many instances that began life as 'rake' or 'reck', and no wonder we're confused. Ignoring obsolete and spurious senses, and ones I plain haven't heard of, we have:

    n. (2) a moving mass of cloud;

    (3) a stretching frame for cloth, and thus for torture;

    (4) a vertical framework for holding things (fodder, hats, guns, clothes, cards, etc. etc.); and thus a bar engaging with a pinion; thus also the bosoms;

    (7) a joint of meat; a bony horse;

    (9) wreckage, ruin;

    v. (1) stretch; tear apart; torment; cudgel (one's brains); charge (rent) excessively;

    (3) rack n. (6)'>from a kind of horse's gait, rack n. (6) rack along "rattle along", rack off "piss off";

    (4) put in a rack n. (4); esp. of pool balls; rack up "accumulate".

    In answer to the question I was asking myself that led to this research: yes, rack and ruin should really be wrack and ruin, sense n. (9) being originally 'wrack'.

    March 19, 2009