\ ˈraŋk How to pronounce rank (audio) \

Definition of rank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2 : an aggregate of individuals classed together usually used in plural
3a : row, series
b : a row of people
c(1) : a line of soldiers ranged side by side in close order
(2) ranks plural : armed forces
(3) ranks 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 sense 6
4 : an orderly arrangement : formation
5 : the order according to some statistical characteristic (such as the score on a test)
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 : the number of linearly independent rows or columns in a matrix


ranked; ranking; ranks

Definition of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to determine the relative position of : rate a highly ranked prospect
2 : to arrange in lines or in a regular formation
3 : to take precedence of

intransitive verb

1 : to take or have a position in relation to others ranks first in her class
2 : to form or move in ranks

Definition of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : offensive in odor or flavor especially : rancid
2a : shockingly conspicuous must lecture him on his rank disloyalty— David Walden
b : outright used as an intensiverank beginners
3 : luxuriantly or excessively vigorous in growth
4 : offensively gross or coarse : foul
6 : high in amount or degree : fraught
7 archaic : lustful, ruttish
8 obsolete : grown too large

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Other Words from rank


rankly adverb
rankness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rank

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of rank in a Sentence

Noun people of high rank and profession She's not concerned about rank or wealth. officers with the rank of captain He rose to the rank of partner in the law firm. He longed to join the upper social ranks. military ranks such as private, corporal, and sergeant He moved up through the ranks to become vice president of the company. The organization's ranks have doubled in the past two years. The flu swept through the ranks, infecting almost every soldier. Several men were selected from the ranks. Verb A magazine recently ranked the school as one of the best in the country. The city currently ranks as the world's largest. Students who rank in the top third of their class have a better chance of being accepted to the college of their choice. Adjective You can't expect a rank beginner like her to know all the rules of the game. covered with trumpet vines so rank you couldn't see the trellis beneath them
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Completing the project and reaching the highest rank of Girl Scout ambassador was the teen’s own journey of metamorphosis, the name of Ariel’s project. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Girl Scout grows garden, future with help of strong mentors," 29 June 2020 And Prince Harry served in the Army for 10 years, rising to the rank of Captain and undertaking two tours of Afghanistan. PEOPLE.com, "Queen Elizabeth Releases Personal Statement Honoring Military — Including Her Own Family Members," 26 June 2020 Her father, 89-year-old Dennis Thresher, served in the US Air Force during the Korean War, rising to the rank of staff sergeant while flying aboard bombers. Ryan Prior, CNN, "'They sent them literally into a death trap': Families recall horror as Covid-19 ravaged Massachusetts veterans home," 26 June 2020 Too many Democrats, still, pay lip service to the climate crisis, but witness how rank-and-file members of Congress have had to beg leadership for crumbs of clean-energy tax-credit extensions. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "What Stands in the Way of Making the Climate a Priority," 24 June 2020 In addition to the Trump administration being handed a defeat, Trump’s own appointment, Justice Neil Gorsuch, broke rank and authored the majority opinion. Siraj Hashmi, Washington Examiner, "White House Weekly: June 22," 22 June 2020 Over the next 13 years, Straight was promoted to the rank of sergeant while also facing three additional internal affairs investigations. Washington Post, "Tulsa guard’s deadly assault on hotel guest raises issues of race, private security oversight," 19 June 2020 The Portland police rank-and-file union and the city have reached a tentative agreement to extend the police contract for one year with a 2.9% cost-of-living adjustment that won’t kick in until June 30, 2021. oregonlive, "Portland police union, city reach tentative contract extension with deferred 2.9 % cost-of-living adjustment," 19 June 2020 But unlike the four officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death, the patrolman who killed Tycel Nelson neither faced criminal charges nor lost his job, ascending to the rank of lieutenant over the ensuing two decades. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will Minneapolis become the Selma of the North?," 11 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And, if the high end of our forecast is right, the month would rank among the top 5 hottest Julys on record. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "July outlook: Summer’s sweatiest month to be even hotter than normal in D.C.," 30 June 2020 The psychologists tested subjects on various qualities — sense of humour, logic and grammar — and found that those who rated in the lowest quadrants tended to rank themselves as far above average. Jennifer Wright, refinery29.com, "America Has Always Been A Nation Of Conspiracy Theories — But It’s Worse Than Ever," 29 June 2020 Asked once to rank his biggest thrills in music, Carr cited meeting Paul Simon. Lee Roop | Lroop@al.com, al, "Legendary Muscle Shoals guitarist Pete Carr dead at 70," 27 June 2020 Of the companies that have joined the boycott so far, only three — Unilever, Verizon and the outdoor equipment retailer REI — rank among the top 100 advertisers on Facebook, according to data compiled by Pathmatics, a marketing intelligence firm. Brian Fung, CNN, "The hard truth about the Facebook ad boycott: Nothing matters but Zuckerberg," 26 June 2020 His 1,551 career rebounds rank second in Louisville history, and his career averages of 20.6 points per game and 18.9 rebounds per game remain school records. Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville basketball, NBA legend Wes Unseld viewing set for Friday in Maryland," 11 June 2020 Zeller scored 1,624 career points at Washington to rank No. 2 in school history. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Gary Roosevelt, New Castle, Washington, Jeffersonville reach Build-A-Team Final Four," 8 June 2020 At Fort Funston, the bluff trails rank among most popular anywhere for dog walks, and the staging area near headquarters is the launch point for 50,000 flights a year for hang gliders. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "Top 10 Bay Area beaches to visit during shelter-in-place," 19 June 2020 Jack Sawyer are the only Ohio State commits who rank in the top 20 on the list. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "2021 Ohio State football commits rise in updated rankings; Jaylin Davies commitment ahead: Buckeyes Recruiting Roundup," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There are so many factors that impact the outcome of games that addressing that issue would require rank speculation. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "A dark day in MLB history: Astros' cheating scandal taints baseball, ruins club's legacy," 13 Jan. 2020 The department did not rank intersections by crashes for 2014 and 2015. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Dempster-Potter had highest number of reported crashes last year: Park Ridge police," 19 June 2018 And while Latvian elections don’t exactly rank high on the list of an American president’s priorities, the White House could have guessed what the Russians were gearing up to do — and should have sent them a forceful message to knock it off. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Yes, Obama Mishandled Russia's Election Hacking. But So Has Trump," 22 Feb. 2018 Key to that turnaround has been the Horns' ability to get opposing offenses off the field — their rank sixth nationally in third-down conversion defense. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "College football preview: Oklahoma State at Texas," 20 Oct. 2017 Any attempt to model tax liability in the new system will be rank speculation. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "A Fairer Tax Code Is a More Efficient Tax Code," 17 Oct. 2017 The design style did not rank number one in any state. Jenna Milliner-waddell, ELLE Decor, "The Most-Searched Design Style In The United States Is So Unexpected," 10 Aug. 2017 The nexus inspires the most rank forms of situational ethics and rationalizations. The Hive, "Obama Cashes In—And the Media Piles On," 28 Apr. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1573, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for rank


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


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

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Time Traveler for rank

Time Traveler

The first known use of rank was in the 13th century

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Statistics for rank

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rank. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for rank


How to pronounce rank (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a position in a society, organization, group, etc.
: a high position in a society, organization, group, etc.
: the people or things that belong to a particular organization or group



English Language Learners Definition of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

: having a strong, unpleasant smell
: very bad and obvious
: complete or total


\ ˈraŋk How to pronounce rank (audio) \

Kids Definition of rank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : row entry 2 sense 1, series ranks of houses
2 : a line of soldiers standing side by side
3 ranks plural : the body of enlisted persons in an army
4 : position within a group Who is highest in rank in this office?
5 : high social position
6 : official grade or position the rank of major

Kids Definition of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : strong and active in growth rank weeds
2 : outright entry 2 sense 1 rank dishonesty
3 : having an unpleasant smell The room was rank with smoke.


ranked; ranking

Kids Definition of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to take or have a certain position in a group He ranks near the top of the class.
2 : to arrange in a classification
3 : to arrange in lines or in a formation

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More from Merriam-Webster on rank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rank

Spanish Central: Translation of rank

Nglish: Translation of rank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rank for Arabic Speakers

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