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 Democrats have repeatedly accused Trump's Justice Department of political interference, and those concerns have also been pervasive among some rank and file officials in the agency. Michael Balsamo, Anchorage Daily News, "Administration tries to oust US attorney investigating Trump allies, but he won’t go," 20 June 2020 Democrats have repeatedly accused Trump’s Justice Department of political interference, and those concerns have also been pervasive among some rank and file officials in the agency. Time, "As Justice Department Claims U.S. Attorney Investigating Trump Allies Is 'Stepping Down,' Attorney Refuses to Leave His Post," 20 June 2020 Per multiple reports, among the rank and file, there appears to be some disagreement as to whether players can make more of a contribution by eschewing business as usual or embracing it. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Finger: As leagues struggle to return, nothing is simple," 16 June 2020 To that end, the city may have help from the rank and file. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio police shouldn’t have to handle every social ill, top city officials say," 12 June 2020 In most cases, chiefs or mayors quickly apologize for the misconduct of rank and file officers. Jack Greiner, Cincinnati.com, "Strictly Legal: Minnesota class action seeks to protect journalists," 10 June 2020 The demonstrations and violence have reverberated among the NYPD's rank and file. Mark Morales And Shimon Prokupecz, CNN, "Looters were able to target high-end stores in New York due to an intelligence failure, NYPD official says," 6 June 2020 One significant difference between now and five years ago is that rank and file workers are making more noise. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Tech Companies Denounce Racism. Will Silicon Valley Change?," 1 June 2020 In the Democratic primary, polls show the rank and file are evenly split among the three candidates. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Bloomberg.com, "Unions Are Divided on Biden, Sanders and Warren," 8 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for rank and file

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The first known use of rank and file was in 1598

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Statistics for rank and file

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rank and file.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rank%20and%20file. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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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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