• Rank


    • IPA: /ɹæŋk/
    • US IPA: /ɹeɪŋk/
    • Rhymes: -æŋk

    Origin 1

    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").


    1. Strong of its kind or in character; unmitigated; virulent; thorough; utter.
      rank treason;  rank nonsense
    2. Strong in growth; growing with vigour or rapidity, hence, coarse or gross.
      rank grass;  rank weeds
      • Bible, Genesis xli. 5And, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
      • 1944, Miles Burton, The Three Corpse Trick Chapter 5, The hovel stood in the centre of what had once been a vegetable garden, but was now a patch of rank weeds. Surrounding this, almost like a zareba, was an irregular ring of gorse and brambles, an unclaimed vestige of the original common.
    3. Suffering from overgrowth or hypertrophy; plethoric.
      • 1899, Joseph Conrad, ,The moon had spread over everything a thin layer of silver—over the rank grass, over the mud, upon the wall of matted vegetation standing higher than the wall of a temple ...
    4. Causing strong growth; producing luxuriantly; rich and fertile.
      rank land
    5. Strong to the senses; offensive; noisome.
    6. Having a very strong and bad taste or odor.
      Your gym clothes are rank, bro – when d’you last wash ’em?
      • Robert Boyle (1627-1691)Divers sea fowls taste rank of the fish on which they feed.
    7. Complete, used as an intensifier (usually negative, referring to incompetence).
      I am a rank amateur as a wordsmith.
      • 2011, March 1, Phil McNulty, Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd, Chelsea remain rank outsiders to retain their crown and they still lie 12 points adrift of United, but Ancelotti will regard this as a performance that supports his insistence that they can still have a say when the major prizes are handed out this season.
    8. (informal) Gross, disgusting.
    9. (obsolete) Strong; powerful; capable of acting or being used with great effect; energetic; vigorous; headstrong.
    10. (obsolete) Inflamed with venereal appetite.


    Full definition of rank



    1. (obsolete) Quickly, eagerly, impetuously.
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iii:The seely man seeing him ryde so rancke,
        And ayme at him, fell flat to ground for feare ....
      • FairfaxThat rides so rank and bends his lance so fell.

    Origin 2

    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.

    Akin to Old High German (h)ring, Old Frisian hring, Old English hring, hrincg ("ring") (Modern English ring), Old Norse hringr ("ring, circle, queue, sword; ship"). More at ring.



    (plural ranks)
    1. A row of people or things organized in a grid pattern, often soldiers corresponding term for the perpendicular columns in such a pattern is "file".The front rank kneeled to reload while the second rank fired over their heads.
      • 1907, w, The Dust of Conflict Chapter 7, Then there was no more cover, for they straggled out, not in ranks but clusters, from among orange trees and tall, flowering shrubs....
      1. (chess) one of the eight horizontal lines of squares on a chessboard corresponding term for a vertical line is "file".
    2. (music) In a pipe organ, a set of pipes of a certain quality for which each pipe corresponds to one key or pedal.
    3. One's position in a list sorted by a shared property such as physical location, population, or qualityBased on your test scores, you have a rank of 23.The fancy hotel was of the first rank.
    4. The level of one's position in a class-based society
    5. a level in an organization such as the militaryPrivate First Class (PFC) is the lowest rank in the Marines.He rose up through the ranks of the company from mailroom clerk to CEO.
    6. (taxonomy) a level in a scientific taxonomy systemPhylum is the taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class.
    7. (linear algebra) Maximal number of linearly independent columns (or rows) of a matrix.
    8. The dimensionality of an array (computing) or tensor (mathematics).


    1. To place abreast, or in a line.
    2. To have a ranking.Their defense ranked third in the league.
    3. To assign a suitable place in a class or order; to classify.
      • I. WattsRanking all things under general and special heads.
      • BroomePoets were ranked in the class of philosophers.
      • Dr. H. MoreHeresy is ranked with idolatry and witchcraft.
    4. (US) To take rank of; to outrank.


    © Wiktionary