Definition for RANK

RANK, n. [Ir. ranc; W. rhenc; Arm. rencq; Fr. rang, a row or line; It. rango, rank, condition Port and Sp. rancho, a mess or set of persons; D. Dan. and G. rang. In these words, n is probably casual; Ar. رَكَا raka, to set in order; Heb. and Ch. ערך, id. Class Rg, No. 13, 47. See also No. 18, 20, 21, 27, 46. The primary sense is probably to reach, to stretch, or to pass, to stretch along. Hence rank and grade are often synonymous.]

  1. A row or line, applied to troops; a line of men standing abreast or side by side, and as opposed to file, a line running the length of a company, battalion or regiment. Keep your ranks; dress your ranks. Fierce fiery warriors fight upon the clouds / In ranks and squadrons and right form of war. – Shak.
  2. Ranks, in the plural, the order of common soldiers; as, to reduce an officer to the ranks.
  3. A row; a line of things, or things in a line; as, a rank of osiers. – Shak.
  4. Degree; grade; in military affairs; as, the rank of captain, colonel or general; the rank of vice-admiral.
  5. Degree of elevation in civil life or station; the order of elevation or of subordination. We say, all ranks and orders of men; every man's dress and behavior should correspond with his rank; the highest and the lowest ranks of men or of other intelligent beings.
  6. Class; order; division; any portion or number of things to which place, degree or order is assigned. Profligate men, by their vices, sometimes degrade themselves to the rank of brutes.
  7. Degree of dignity, eminence or excellence; as, a writer of the first rank; a lawyer of high rank. These are all virtues of a theater rank. – Addison.
  8. Dignity; high place or degree in the orders of men; as a man of rank. Rank and file, the order of common soldiers. Ten officers and three hundred rank and file fell in the action. To fill the ranks, to supply the whole number, or a competent number. To take rank, to enjoy precedence, or to have the right of taking a higher place. In Great Britain, the king's soul take rank of all the other nobles.

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