rank and file


: the enlisted personnel of an armed force
: the individuals who constitute the body of an organization, society, or nation as distinguished from the leaders
rank-and-file adjective
rank and filer 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 The pushback the from rank and file was immediate, and immense.... BostonGlobe.com, 18 Aug. 2023 In fact, most union labor negotiations include a strike authorization vote by rank and file, and most negotiations conclude with an agreement rather than a strike. Chris Isidore, CNN, 28 June 2023 For much of the NBA rank and file, the All-Star break is meant to be a time to relax. Jeff McDonald, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Feb. 2023 Read full article The agreement would need the approval of a majority of the 1,600-member union’s rank and file to go into effect. Sean Cotter, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Sep. 2023 That triggered ire among the Hollywood unions’ rank and file. Todd Spangler, Variety, 16 Aug. 2023 The decision to strike was not universally popular with the SAG rank and file. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 July 2023 Instead, the most powerful security agency in the country issued a press release calling on Wagner’s rank and file to stay out of the uprising and to go arrest Prigozhin—on their own. Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, Foreign Affairs, 6 July 2023 During her short tenure, Ms. Sewell made a strong impression on the Police Department rank and file — championing renovations of precinct break rooms, and trumpeting the successes and challenges of individual officers. Maria Cramer, New York Times, 30 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rank and file.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rank and file was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near rank and file

Cite this Entry

“Rank and file.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rank%20and%20file. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

rank and file

: the enlisted persons of one of the armed forces
: the ordinary members that make up the body of a group when considered apart from the leaders

Legal Definition

rank and file

: the general membership of a union

More from Merriam-Webster on rank and file

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