rank and file


Definition of rank and file

1 : the enlisted personnel of an armed force
2 : the individuals who constitute the body of an organization, society, or nation as distinguished from the leaders

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Other Words from rank and file

rank-and-file \ ˌraŋk-​ᵊn-​ˈfī(-​ə)l How to pronounce rank-and-file (audio) \ adjective
rank and filer \ ˌraŋk-​ᵊn-​ˈfī-​lər How to pronounce rank and filer (audio) \ noun

Examples of rank and file in a Sentence

the chosen few might have the opportunity for a trip in the space shuttle, but it will be a while before the rank and file are taking space trips

Recent Examples on the Web

With no Democratic candidate emerging soon in the nomination fight, Pelosi has struggled to keep her rank and file focused on the issues rather than investigations of Trump. Hannah Fingerhut, The Seattle Times, "Poll: Most see women equal to men in politics," 29 Mar. 2019 An ethics review structure that includes rank and file employee representatives 2. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Google employees quit over controversial China search engine project, report says," 13 Sep. 2018 Since the 1940s, Republicans have branded themselves the party free trade, while Democrats—especially rank and file officials and congressmen—have more often been the party of protection. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Democrats Could Become a Free-Trade Counterweight to Trump," 18 July 2018 That sentiment now extends beyond union leadership and down to the rank and file. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Major League Baseball Is Moving Closer to a Universal Designated Hitter," 18 July 2018 Six weeks ago, Best was excluded from a list of three finalists presented to Mayor Jenny Durkan, enraging her supporters in the community and the union representing the department’s rank and file. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "How the deal likely to make Carmen Best chief of Seattle police came together," 9 July 2018 That’s because rank and file GOP lawmakers hold clashing views on immigration. Sarah Binder, Washington Post, "Immigration boiled over last week. Here’s what Congress did — and why.," 25 June 2018 The belief that Ryan’s views are significantly different than those of his House GOP rank and file is equally mystifying. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Paul Ryan’s Suicide Mission," 13 Feb. 2018 The topic is divisive among the party’s rank and file. The Economist, "A culture war comes to Westminster," 5 July 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for rank and file

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for rank and file

The first known use of rank and file was in 1598

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More Definitions for rank and file

rank and file


Legal Definition of rank and file

: the general membership of a union

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More from Merriam-Webster on rank and file

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rank and file

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rank and file

Spanish Central: Translation of rank and file

Nglish: Translation of rank and file for Spanish Speakers

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having no equal

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