\ 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 He was seen as one of caucus’s biggest fund-raisers outside leadership ranks. BostonGlobe.com, "As the 2018 midterm elections approached, Democratic candidates around the country wanted Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III’s help.," 17 Sep. 2019 Various ailments among the defensive backs have depleted the ranks. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scouting Report: Utah State at Aztecs," 16 Sep. 2019 The Bruins’ scoring ranks No. 127 out of 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, and its 263.3 yards of offense per game rank No. 129. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Chip Kelly won’t resurrect Oregon blur offense to revitalize UCLA: ‘Football evolves’," 16 Sep. 2019 In another podcast episode, the duo rank comedians by race, gender and sexuality. Peter Martinez, CBS News, "Comedian Shane Gillis will not be joining "Saturday Night Live" over racist and homophobic videos," 16 Sep. 2019 The longest run this season is 11 yards and the Bengals rank last in the NFL in total rush yards. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Bengals offensive line issues amplified with injuries in lopsided loss to 49ers," 16 Sep. 2019 He was convicted on one count of taking a photo with a terrorist’s corpse and was sentenced to reduced rank and partial pay. Fox News, "Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sues his ex-lawyers, military nonprofit," 15 Sep. 2019 Of these, only 10% found another job of equal pay or rank. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Jabs at Joe Biden mask our growing ageism issue," 15 Sep. 2019 In turn, this soon could help increase the still-thin ranks for female CEOs, as companies are increasingly using board experience as a proxy for an executives’ readiness to lead. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "New research shows the career path to CEO is different for women," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Buckeyes were ranked No. 7 on the list mainly because of the outcome of the National Championship game against Miami (Fla.) where a questionable defensive holding call sent the game into overtime. Stephen Means, cleveland.com, "Ohio State football considered playoff team in ESPN’s recent bowl projections: Buckeye Breakfast," 17 Sep. 2019 While the Orioles have struggled for years to stay out of the bottom third of the minor league talent rankings, they are currently ranked ninth in that department by Baseball America. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: Multiple minor league playoff runs prove Orioles farm system has turned a corner," 15 Sep. 2019 He is also ranked 13th on the list of the leading test try scorers in international rugby union matches. Matthew Robinson, CNN, "Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas reveals he has HIV," 15 Sep. 2019 Iowa City, Iowa was ranked the best college town in the country. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Sorry, Louisville. Lexington ranked the best college town in Kentucky," 15 Sep. 2019 Just one of those teams was ranked, and the Hokies were a modest 24th in the AP poll. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "Brian Kelly: More explosive plays needed if Notre Dame is to stay with powerful Georgia," 14 Sep. 2019 She is currently ranked the world number four female player by the WTA. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Coco Gauff ‘Can’t Thank’ Naomi Osaka ‘Enough’ for Including Her in Interview After U.S. Open Loss," 13 Sep. 2019 Gurugram, India, a city bordering New Delhi, was ranked as having the world’s worst air quality last year, followed by another New Delhi neighbor, Ghaziabad, and Faisalabad in western Pakistan. Gerry Shih, Washington Post, "Beijing air improves significantly in past five years, study finds," 12 Sep. 2019 Last year, the Raiders went 4-12 and ranked 23rd in total offense in their first season under Gruden. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "With rebuilt supporting cast, can Raiders’ Derek Carr deliver star performance?," 6 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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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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

Comments on rank

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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