Definitions

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

  • n. A relative position in a society.
  • n. An official position or grade: the rank of sergeant.
  • n. A relative position or degree of value in a graded group.
  • n. High or eminent station or position: persons of rank.
  • n. A row, line, series, or range.
  • n. A line of soldiers, vehicles, or equipment standing side by side in close order.
  • n. The armed forces.
  • n. Personnel, especially enlisted military personnel.
  • n. A body of people classed together; numbers: joined the ranks of the unemployed.
  • n. Games Any of the rows of squares running crosswise to the files on a playing board in chess or checkers.
  • transitive v. To place in a row or rows.
  • transitive v. To give a particular order or position to; classify.
  • transitive v. To outrank or take precedence over.
  • intransitive v. To hold a particular rank: ranked first in the class.
  • intransitive v. To form or stand in a row or rows.
  • intransitive v. Slang To complain.
  • intransitive v. Slang To engage in carping criticism. Often used with on: Stop ranking on me all the time.
  • idiom pull rank To use one's superior rank to gain an advantage.
  • adj. Growing profusely or with excessive vigor: rank vegetation in the jungle.
  • adj. Yielding a profuse, often excessive crop; highly fertile: rank earth.
  • adj. Strong and offensive in odor or flavor.
  • adj. Conspicuously offensive: rank treachery. See Synonyms at flagrant.
  • adj. Absolute; complete: a rank amateur; a rank stranger.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Strong; powerful; capable of acting or being used with great effect; energetic; vigorous; headstrong.
  • adj. Strong of its kind or in character; unmitigated; virulent; thorough; utter.
  • adj. Strong in growth; growing with vigour or rapidity, hence, coarse or gross.
  • adj. Suffering from overgrowth or hypertrophy; plethoric.
  • adj. Causing strong growth; producing luxuriantly; rich and fertile.
  • adj. Strong to the senses; offensive; noisome.
  • adj. Having a very strong and bad taste or odor.
  • adj. Gross, disgusting.
  • adj. Complete, used as an intensifier (usually negative, referring to incompetence).
  • adv. Quickly, eagerly, impetuously.
  • n. In a pipe organ, a set of pipes of a certain quality for which each pipe corresponds to one key or pedal.
  • n. One's position in a list sorted by a shared property such as physical location, population, or quality
  • n. The level of one's position in a class-based society
  • n. a level in an organization such as the military
  • n. a level in a scientific taxonomy system
  • n. maximal number of linearly independent columns (or rows) of a matrix or determinant.
  • n. The dimensionality of an array (computing) or tensor (mathematics).
  • v. to give a person, place, thing, or idea a rank

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Luxuriant in growth; of vigorous growth; exuberant; grown to immoderate height
  • adj. Raised to a high degree; violent; extreme; gross; utter.
  • adj. Causing vigorous growth; producing luxuriantly; very rich and fertile.
  • adj. Strong-scented; rancid; musty
  • adj. Strong to the taste.
  • adj. Inflamed with venereal appetite.
  • adj.
  • adv. Rankly; stoutly; violently.
  • n. A row or line; a range; an order; a tier.
  • n. A line of soldiers ranged side by side; -- opposed to file. See 1st File, 1 (a).
  • n. Grade of official standing, as in the army, navy, or nobility
  • n. An aggregate of individuals classed together; a permanent social class; an order; a division
  • n. Degree of dignity, eminence, or excellence; position in civil or social life; station; degree; grade
  • n. Elevated grade or standing; high degree; high social position; distinction; eminence.
  • transitive v. To place abreast, or in a line.
  • transitive v. To range in a particular class, order, or division; to class; also, to dispose methodically; to place in suitable classes or order; to classify.
  • transitive v. To take rank of; to outrank.
  • intransitive v. To be ranged; to be set or disposed, as in a particular degree, class, order, or division.
  • intransitive v. To have a certain grade or degree of elevation in the orders of civil or military life; to have a certain degree of esteem or consideration

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Strong; powerful; capable of acting or of being used with great effect; energetic; vigorous; headstrong.
  • Strong of its kind or in character; unmitigated; virulent; thorough; utter: as, rank poison; rank treason; rank nonsense.
  • Strong in growth; growing with vigor or rapidity; hence, coarse or gross: said of plants.
  • Suffering from overgrowth or hypertrophy, plethoric.
  • Causing strong growth; producing luxuriantly; rich and fertile.
  • Strong to the senses; offensive; noisome; rancid: as, a rank taste or odor.
  • Hence Coarse or gross morally; offensive to the mind; obscene; indecent; foul.
  • Ruttish; in heat.
  • In law, excessive; exceeding the actual value: as, a rank modus.
  • In mech., cutting strongly or deeply, as the iron of a plane set so as to project more than usual.
  • Eager; anxious; impatient: as, he was rank to do it.
  • Very angry; in a passion.
  • Rankly; strongly; furiously.
  • To become rank.
  • n. A line, row, or range.
  • n. Specifically— One of the rows of a body of troops, or of any persons similarly ranged in a right-and-left line; a line of soldiers or other persons standing abreast in a formation: distinguished from file, 5. See rank and file, under file.
  • n. Hence— plural The lines or divisions of an army or any armed force; organized soldiery; the body or class of common soldiers; as, the ranks are full; to rise from the ranks; to reduce an officer to the ranks.
  • n. In organ-building, a row or set of pipes, one for each digital of the keyboard. A mixture-stop is said to be of two, three, four, or five ranks, according to the numbers of pipes sounded at once by a single digital.
  • n. One of the lines of squares on a chess-board running from side to side, in distinction from the files, which run from player to player.
  • n. A row, as of leaves on a stem.
  • n. A continuous line or course; a stretch.
  • n. A class, order, or grade of persons; any aggregate of individuals classed together for some common reason, as social station, occupation, character, or creed: as, the Prohibition ranks; the ranks of the Anarchists.
  • n. Grade in a scale of comparison; class or classification: natural or acquired status; relative position; standing.
  • n. Specifically, of persons— Titular distinction or dignity; gradation by hereditary, official, or other title: as, civil, judicial, or military rank; the rank of baron or marquis; the rank of general or admiral; the rank of ambassador or governor. The relative rank of officers of the United States army and navy is as follows: General ranks with admiral; lieutenant-general with vice-admiral; major-general with rear-admiral; brigadier-general with commodore; colonel with captain; lieutenant-colonel with commander; major with lieutenant-commander; captain with lieutenant(senior grade); first lieutenant with lieutenant (junior grade); second lieutenant with ensign.
  • n. Eminent standing or dignity; especially, aristocratic station or hereditary distinction, as in European monarchies; inherited or conferred social eminence.
  • n. A ranging or roving; hence, discursive wandering; divagation; aberration.
  • n. In geometry, the degree of a locus of lines.
  • To arrange in a rank or ranks; place in a rank or line.
  • To assign to a particular class, order, or division; fix the rank of; class.
  • To take rank of or over; outrank; as, in the United States army, an officer commissioned simply as general ranks all other generals.
  • To dispose in suitable order; arrange; classify.
  • To fix as to state or estimation; settle; establish.
  • To range; give the range to, as a gun in firing.
  • To move in ranks or rows.
  • Your cattle, too; Allah made them; serviceable dumb creatures; … they come ranking home at evening time.
  • To be ranged or disposed, as in a particular order, class, or division; hold rank or station; occupy a certain position as compared with others: as, to rank above, below, or with some other man.
  • To range; go or move about; hence, to bear one's self; behave.
  • In British law: To have rank or standing as a claim in bankruptcy or probate proceedings.
  • To put in a claim against the property of a bankrupt person or a deceased debtor: as, he ranked upon the estate.
  • Unmanageable: said of a racehorse on the track.
  • n. Specifically, rank in the United States army according to date of last commission.
  • In logging, to haul and pile regularly: as, to rank bark or cord-wood.
  • n. A name proposed by Perry for the thermodynamic quantity, .

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

  • n. the body of members of an organization or group
  • n. relative status
  • v. assign a rank or rating to
  • n. the ordinary members of an organization (such as the enlisted soldiers of an army)
  • adj. very fertile; producing profuse growth
  • v. take or have a position relative to others
  • n. position in a social hierarchy
  • adj. complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as intensifiers
  • adj. growing profusely
  • v. take precedence or surpass others in rank
  • n. a row or line of people (especially soldiers or police) standing abreast of one another
  • adj. conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible
  • adj. very offensive in smell or taste

Etymologies

Middle English, line, row, from Old French ranc, renc, of Germanic origin.
Middle English ranc, from Old English, strong, overbearing.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English rank ("strong, proud"), from Old English ranc ("proud, haughty, arrogant, insolent, forward, overbearing, showy, ostentatious, splendid, bold, valiant, noble, brave, strong, full-grown, mature"), from Proto-Germanic *rankaz (“straight”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃reǵ- (“straight, direct”). Cognate with Dutch rank ("slender, slim"), Low German rank ("slender, projecting, lank"), Danish rank ("straight, erect, slender"), Swedish rank ("slender, shaky, wonky"), Icelandic rakkr ("straight, slender, bold, valiant"). (Wiktionary)
Middle English rank ("line, row"), from Old French reng, rang, ranc ("line, row, rank") (Modern French rang), from Frankish hring ("ring"), from Proto-Germanic *hringaz (“something bent or curved”), which is of uncertain origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • from Persian rang meaning "color", as the Sassanid army was ranked and dressed by color

    August 31, 2009

  • Whoa. Nomenclature for a war game taken from military terminology? Who would have guessed?

    Do you suppose "knight" comes from...nah, too obvious.

    :)

    November 12, 2007

  • For the record, the row on a chess board is named in direct analogy for the line of soldiers. I would imagine the hierarchy term comes from this as well.

    November 12, 2007

  • Such an interesting word. It can mean fertile, offensive in odor, the relative status or position in a hierarchy, a row on a chess board, or a line of soldiers. My favorite use is as an intensifier for absolute as in the beautiful Appalachian ballad Rank Stranger:

    "Everybody I met, seemed to be a rank stranger.
    No Mother or Dad, not a friend could I see.
    They knew not my name, I knew not their faces.
    I found they were all rank strangers to me."

    November 12, 2007