noun, often attributive
\ ˈrānj \

Definition of range 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a series of things in a line : row

(2) : a series of mountains

(3) : one of the north-south rows of townships in a U.S. public-land survey that are numbered east and west from the principal meridian of the survey

b : an aggregate of individuals in one order

c : a direction line

2 : a cooking stove that has an oven and a flat top with burners or heating elements

3a : a place that may be ranged over

b : an open region over which animals (such as livestock) may roam and feed

c : the region throughout which a kind of organism or ecological community naturally lives or occurs

4 : the act of ranging about

5a(1) : the horizontal distance to which a projectile can be propelled

(2) : the horizontal distance between a weapon and target

b : the maximum distance a vehicle or craft can travel without refueling

c(1) : a place where shooting is practiced

(2) : driving range

6a : the space or extent included, covered, or used : scope

b : the extent of pitch covered by a melody or lying within the capacity of a voice or instrument

7a : a sequence, series, or scale between limits a wide range of patterns

b : the limits of a series : the distance or extent between possible extremes

c : the difference between the least and greatest values of an attribute or of the variable of a frequency distribution

8a : the set of values a function may take on

b : the class of admissible values of a variable


ranged; ranging

Definition of range (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to set in a row or in the proper order

b : to place among others in a position or situation

c : to assign to a category : classify

2a : to rove over or through

b : to sail or pass along

3 : to arrange (an anchor cable) on deck

4 : to graze (livestock) on a range

intransitive verb

1a : to roam at large or freely

b : to move over an area so as to explore it

2 : to take a position

3a : to correspond in direction or line : align

b : to extend in a particular direction

4 : to have range

5 : to change or differ within limits

6 of an organism : to live or occur in or be native to a region

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Choose the Right Synonym for range


range, gamut, compass, sweep, scope, orbit mean the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control). range is a general term indicating the extent of one's perception or the extent of powers, capacities, or possibilities. the entire range of human experience gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another. a performance that ran the gamut of emotions compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity. your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity. the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible. as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened orbit suggests an often circumscribed range of activity or influence within which forces work toward accommodation. within that restricted orbit they tried to effect social change

Examples of range in a Sentence


knew exactly how many head of cattle were turned out on the range that morning to graze didn't know she had such a wide range of knowledge until I talked to her


The selection of food ranged from mild to very spicy. Items on the menu range from American fare like hamburgers and hot dogs to Italian pasta dishes. Grizzly bears range over a much smaller area than they once did. The plant once ranged across the island.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The wildfire danger has dropped into the low-to-moderate range, according to an Anchorage Fire Department statement Wednesday. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage burn ban eased amid cool and rainy weather," 12 July 2018 Perform height and width reduction as needed to keep the plant in the 6- to 8-foot range. Tom Maccubbin, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Caterpillar invasion isn't end for healthy tree," 14 July 2018 One of the interesting stories that emerged from this first-ever baking competition was that 100 GE electric ranges had been delivered to the Waldorf-Astoria ballroom to be used by contestants. Judy Buchenot, Naperville Sun, "Suburban Cooks: Mints go from trash to treasured cookies," 13 July 2018 The lawsuit contends that Chudoba lost range of motion in her arm and required surgery. Don Stacom, Courant Community, "Spectator Sues Bristol Blues Over Injury From Broken Bat," 14 July 2018 Estimates of American poverty vary widely, and experts have a range of measures to assess who counts as poor. Jeff Stein And Tracy Jan, chicagotribune.com, "White House declares war on poverty 'largely over' amid push to revamp social programs," 14 July 2018 Influenced by social forces like the labor movement, feminism, and the struggle for civil rights, 20th-century historians gradually broadened their vision beyond the old themes of politics and war to include a fuller range of humanity. Amy Crawford, BostonGlobe.com, "Why is history always about humans?," 13 July 2018 In the late 1960s, it was revealed that the CIA was covertly funding a range of cultural organizations. Amanda Laugesen, Smithsonian, "This Cold War-Era Publishing House Wanted To Share American Values With the World," 13 July 2018 Most Grand Canyon trails follow a fault line that limits range of vision. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "10 best hikes in Arizona show off state's diverse scenery," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In all, nearly 386,000 television spots focused on House and Senate races have aired between Jan. 1 and July 8 of this year, ranging from ads by candidates to those funded by outside groups. Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: Secret money funds more than 40% of outside congressional ads," 12 July 2018 Irma’s silhouettes are powerful, yet boast a cheeky ’80s flair: Underwear is pulled up high above the hip bones, while bras range from flexible-wired versions with spaghetti straps to a more full-coverage sporty bandeau style. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "This Russian Lingerie Label Is Creating Cozy, Comfortable, and Sexy Underwear for All," 12 July 2018 As Ruth Schuster at Haaretz reports, bones of both cetaceans were found near Gibraltar, indicating that the whales ranged much further afield, even using the Mediterranean Sea as a calving ground. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Romans May Have Hunted Whales to Extinction in Their Home Waters," 11 July 2018 Their bellies can range from yellow to brown to orange, but many species otherwise look quite similar. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Two New Yellow-Bellied Bats May Have Been Found in Kenya," 13 July 2018 Under Naperville’s procurement code, the city can go to the open market for purchases up to $1,000 and needs at least three written quotes for purchases from ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Governmental bodies jumping on Amazon bandwagon," 12 July 2018 This is just one measure of interest in election turnout, and the partisan enthusiasm gap can range significantly depending on the metric. Emily Guskin, Washington Post, "Democrats more enthusiastic about voting in midterms," 12 July 2018 Traditional rolls are priced from $8 to $10, with specialty rolls ranging up to $19. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego Comic-Con 2018: Best places to grab a bite near this year's Con," 12 July 2018 Look forward to a wide range of musical performances ranging in genre from jazz to reggae to acoustic rock to bluegrass and more. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Taylor Swift, 'Star Wars' with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and other great events in Philadelphia, July 13-20," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'range.' 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 range


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for range


Middle English, row of persons, from Anglo-French range, renge, from renger to range


Middle English, from Anglo-French renger, from renc, reng line, place, row — more at rank entry 1

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Learn More about range

Statistics for range

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for range

The first known use of range was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for range



English Language Learners Definition of range

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group or collection of different things or people that are usually similar in some way

: a series of numbers that includes the highest and lowest possible amounts

: the total amount of ability, knowledge, experience, etc., that a person has



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

: to include everything between specified limits

: to live or grow in a particular area

: to move around an area


\ ˈrānj \

Kids Definition of range

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of things in a line a range of mountains

2 : the distance over which someone or something can be seen, heard, or reached

3 : a cooking stove

4 : open land over which livestock may roam and feed

5 : a variety of choices within a scale a range of colors

6 : the difference between the least and greatest of a set of values

7 : the distance a gun will shoot

8 : a place where shooting is practiced


ranged; ranging

Kids Definition of range (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to arrange in a particular place or order There were at least a thousand musicians ranged in a great arc … —Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

2 : to roam over or through The horses range freely.

3 : to come within specified limits We range in age from 7 to 13.


noun, often attributive
\ ˈrānj \

Medical Definition of range 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the region throughout which a kind of organism or ecological community naturally lives or occurs

2 : the difference between the least and greatest values of an attribute or of the variable of a frequency distribution

ranged; ranging

Medical Definition of range (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to change or differ within limits symptoms range in severity from mild to severe

2 of an organism : to live or occur in or be native to a region

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Comments on range

What made you want to look up range? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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