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 file (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 Adult women and men in the church’s rank and file could begin in large numbers to accuse of manipulation and abuse not only clerics, but also laypeople such as church administrators or the leaders of Catholic movements. New York Times, 1 June 2021 Since losing the presidency, the Senate, and the House, rank and file Republicans have largely doubled down on Trumpism in the hopes of not alienating the very Trumpy base. Molly Jong-fast, Vogue, 13 May 2021 Jack Glaser, a UC Berkeley professor and expert on racial profiling, said a wave of professionalization swept across American police agencies in the 1970s but likely did not eradicate prejudice in the rank and file. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Mar. 2021 But there are disputes in the rank and file, with some favoring Biden's plan to set the corporate rate at 28% and others preferring a lower one, like 25%. Jim Tankersley And Emily Cochrane New York Times, Star Tribune, 27 Mar. 2021 There are thousands of rank and file workers who earn a modest or reasonable living, that’s largely reduced by commuting costs and ridiculously high taxes. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 28 May 2021 However, the proposals were criticized by the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing rank and file police officers, for including nuts-and-bolts services, such as tree stump removals and landscaped medians. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2021 The no-confidence vote is only a symbolic action taken by the rank and file. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, 20 May 2021 The movement’s political leadership is split between figures in the Palestinian territories, who are elected by the rank and file, and those outside their borders. Washington Post, 17 May 2021

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

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rank and file.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rank%20and%20file. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rank and file

Nglish: Translation of rank and file for Spanish Speakers


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