\ ˈranch \

Definition of ranch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large farm for raising horses, beef cattle, or sheep
2 : a farm or area devoted to a particular specialty


ranched; ranching; ranches

Definition of ranch (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to live or work on a ranch

transitive verb

1 : to work as a rancher on
2 : to raise on a ranch

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Synonyms for ranch

Synonyms: Noun

estate, farm, farmstead, grange

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Examples of ranch in a Sentence


lives on a cattle ranch in Texas that's as big as the whole state of Rhode Island


My grandfather started ranching here 150 years ago. The family has ranched 10,000 acres here for the past 150 years. The family has been ranching cattle here for 150 years.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One of the ranch's best delights is a morning ride to breakfast. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "How to Do Winter Glamping Right (Among Saguaros in Arizona)," 8 Jan. 2019 The low-slung building on Evans Avenue with the greenhouse roof blends into the surroundings in an uninspiring stretch of Denver, all nondescript retail and pockets of ranch homes. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Kimbal Musk Is Reinventing Food One Shipping Container at a Time," 24 Oct. 2018 The Hammonds, who run a ranch in eastern Oregon, have a long history of disputes with the federal government. New York Times, "How a Tycoon and Pence Friend Helped 2 Ranchers Get Pardons," 12 July 2018 In early 2014, Brodiaea bought an 8,700-acre cattle ranch in the nearby Cuyama Valley. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Harvard Quietly Amasses California Vineyards—and the Water Underneath," 10 Dec. 2018 Along with his father, Cliven, and brother, Ryan, Bundy became an ascendant figure on the right after a long-standing land dispute with federal authorities sparked an armed standoff at the family ranch in Nevada in 2014. Kyle Swenson, The Seattle Times, "Ammon Bundy breaks with Trump on anti-migrant rhetoric: ‘It’s all fear-based’," 28 Nov. 2018 The house rightly makes the most of its California surroundings with big, geometric windows that look out onto the ranch property. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "A former California farmhouse redesigned to host the whole family," 31 Oct. 2018 The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, MT A short ride from the nearby 786-room Broadmoor resort, the intimate ranch has just ten cabins, each with their own fireplaces. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Resorts in the U.S.: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 No cows, no methane, and no need to cut down tropical forests for new ranches. Tamar Haspel, Vox, "Lab-grown meat and the fight over what it can be called, explained," 31 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

By and large, it’s women and men from ranching, people who live that life, who live in open spaces, and who have daily encounters with animals and work. Constance Grady, Vox, "Victorian literature was full of lady detectives," 15 Dec. 2018 In an Associated Press interview in August, McLeod-Skinner noted that her wife, Cassandra Skinner’s family has been ranching in eastern Oregon for over 100 years. Andrew Selsky, The Seattle Times, "GOP congressman attacks foe’s family ties in Oregon district," 25 Sep. 2018 On the flip side, Eatons' Ranch in northeastern Wyoming is the genuine article, run by the oldest dude-ranching family in America. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Summers: The Ultimate Guide to Not Wasting a Single Vacation With Your Kids," 20 July 2018 Deseret’s been ranching for more than 60 years and offers free tours to the public. A.d. Thompson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "St. Cloud Neighborhood Guide," 21 June 2018 Protect the Harvest, like other ranching advocacy groups, pressedpublic officials for the Hammonds’ release. Matt Pearce, latimes.com, "Pardoned by Trump, Oregon ranchers ride home in style on Pence ally's private jet," 12 July 2018 Kevin Costner plays the patriarch of a fourth generation Montana ranching family trying to hold together the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. National Geographic, "Yellowstone: A Place, A Drama," 18 June 2018 Opponents worry about pollution in the 30,000-acre (12,000-hectare) park named for the former U.S. president who ranched in the region in the 1880s and is revered for his advocacy of land and wildlife conservation. Washington Post, "North Dakota OKs refinery construction near national park," 13 June 2018 The owner of Big Fish Farms has spent the past decade building a reservoir ranching system across southern Ohio and northern Kentucky, where she's grown thousands of young paddlefish that can be harvested by her alone. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky is swimming with potential to take over the US caviar market," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ranch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ranch


1831, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for ranch


Mexican Spanish rancho small ranch, from Spanish, camp, hut & Spanish dialect, small farm, from Old Spanish ranchearse to take up quarters, from Middle French se ranger to take up a position, from ranger to set in a row — more at range

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Learn More about ranch

Dictionary Entries near ranch





ranch dressing



Statistics for ranch

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ranch

The first known use of ranch was in 1831

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More Definitions for ranch



English Language Learners Definition of ranch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large farm especially in the U.S. where animals (such as cattle, horses, and sheep) are raised

: a farm for a special crop or kind of animal



English Language Learners Definition of ranch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to live or work on a ranch

: to raise (an animal) on a ranch


\ ˈranch \

Kids Definition of ranch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large farm for the raising of livestock (as cattle)
2 : a farm devoted to a special crop


ranched; ranching

Kids Definition of ranch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to live or work on a large farm where livestock are raised

Other Words from ranch

rancher noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on ranch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ranch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ranch

Spanish Central: Translation of ranch

Nglish: Translation of ranch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ranch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ranch

Comments on ranch

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