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

  • noun The enlisted troops, excluding noncommissioned officers, in an army.
  • noun The people who form the major portion of a group, organization, or society, excluding the leaders and officers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Common soldiers, as would be arrayed in a grid pattern with ranks and files.
  • noun idiomatic Those lacking any particular title or status; those having no station.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun people who constitute the main body of any group
  • noun the ordinary members of an organization (such as the enlisted soldiers of an army)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word rank and file.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.