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adjective \ˈraŋk\

Simple Definition of rank

  • : having a strong, unpleasant smell

  • : very bad and obvious

  • : complete or total

Full Definition of rank

  1. 1 :  luxuriantly or excessively vigorous in growth

  2. 2 :  offensively gross or coarse :  foul

  3. 3 obsolete :  grown too large

  4. 4 a :  shockingly conspicuous <must lecture him on his rank disloyalty — David Walden> b :  outright —used as an intensive <rank beginners>

  5. 5 archaic :  lustful, ruttish

  6. 6 :  offensive in odor or flavor; especially :  rancid

  7. 7 :  putrid, festering

  8. 8 :  high in amount or degree :  fraught

rank·ly adverb
rank·ness noun

Examples of rank

  1. You can't expect a rank beginner like her to know all the rules of the game.

  2. <covered with trumpet vines so rank you couldn't see the trellis beneath them>

Origin of rank

Middle English, from Old English ranc overbearing, strong; akin to Old Norse rakkr erect and perhaps to Old English riht right — more at right

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of rank

malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling. malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive <malodorous fertilizers>. stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting <prisoners were held in stinking cells> <the fetid odor of skunk cabbage>. noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive <a stagnant, noisome sewer>. putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter <the putrid smell of rotting fish>. rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell <rank cigar smoke>. fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age <a fusty attic> <the musty odor of a damp cellar>.

flagrant, glaring, gross, rank mean conspicuously bad or objectionable. flagrant applies usually to offenses or errors so bad that they can neither escape notice nor be condoned <flagrant abuse of the office of president>. glaring implies painful or damaging obtrusiveness of something that is conspicuously wrong, faulty, or improper <glaring errors>. gross implies the exceeding of reasonable or excusable limits <gross carelessness>. rank applies to what is openly and extremely objectionable and utterly condemned <rank heresy>.




Simple Definition of rank

  • : a position in a society, organization, group, etc.

  • : a high position in a society, organization, group, etc.

  • ranks : the people or things that belong to a particular organization or group

Full Definition of rank

  1. 1 a :  row, series b :  a row of people c (1) :  a line of soldiers ranged side by side in close order (2) plural :  armed forces (3) plural :  the body of enlisted personnel d :  any of the rows of squares that extend across a chessboard perpendicular to the files e British :  stand 6

  2. 2 a :  relative standing or position b :  a degree or position of dignity, eminence, or excellence :  distinction <soon took rank as a leading attorney — J. D. Hicks> c :  high social position <the privileges of rank> d :  a grade of official standing in a hierarchy

  3. 3 :  an orderly arrangement :  formation

  4. 4 :  an aggregate of individuals classed together —usually used in plural

  5. 5 :  the order according to some statistical characteristic (as the score on a test)

  6. 6 :  any of a series of classes of coal based on increasing alteration of the parent vegetable matter, increasing carbon content, and increasing fuel value

  7. 7 :  the number of linearly independent rows or columns in a matrix

Examples of rank

  1. people of high rank and profession

  2. She's not concerned about rank or wealth.

  3. officers with the rank of captain

  4. He rose to the rank of partner in the law firm.

  5. He longed to join the upper social ranks.

  6. military ranks such as private, corporal, and sergeant

  7. He moved up through the ranks to become vice president of the company.

  8. The organization's ranks have doubled in the past two years.

  9. The flu swept through the ranks, infecting almost every soldier.

  10. Several men were selected from the ranks.

Origin of rank

Middle English, from Anglo-French renc, reng, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German hring ring — more at ring

First Known Use: 14th century




Simple Definition of rank

  • : to place (someone or something) in a particular position among a group of people or things that are being judged according to quality, ability, size, etc.

  • : to have a particular position in a group of people or things that are being judged according to quality, ability, size, etc.

  • : to arrange (people or things) in a line or row

Full Definition of rank

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to arrange in lines or in a regular formation

  3. 2 :  to determine the relative position of :  rate <a highly ranked prospect>

  4. 3 :  to take precedence of

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to form or move in ranks

  7. 2 :  to take or have a position in relation to others <ranks first in her class>

Examples of rank

  1. A magazine recently ranked the school as one of the best in the country.

  2. The city currently ranks as the world's largest.

  3. Students who rank in the top third of their class have a better chance of being accepted to the college of their choice.


First Known Use of rank


Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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