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

But confronted with splintering unity in the Democratic rank and file and intractable opposition from McConnell, Pelosi changed course. Anchorage Daily News, "House sends Trump $4.6B border bill, yielding to Senate," 27 June 2019 Apparently only the African rank and file are so helpless as to require the tender mercies of the World Bank’s notorious grandees. William Easterly, WSJ, "‘The Levelling’ Review: Masters Versus the Masses," 17 June 2019 Boards could do more to broaden ownership to the rank and file. The Economist, "Blue-collar capitalists," 8 June 2019 But confronted with splintering unity in the Democratic rank and file and intractable opposition from McConnell, Pelosi changed course. Andrew Taylor, Fortune, "House Passes $4.6 Billion Border Bill—But Will Trump Sign It?," 6 Apr. 2019 Tascon’s List, named after a ruling party lawmaker who was instrumental in making it public, was used to deny government jobs, benefits and even documents for the opposition's rank and file. Peter Millard, Bloomberg.com, "A Timeline of Venezuela’s Economic Rise and Fall," 16 Feb. 2019 Kind of a pain for the rank and file media that cover the Raiders every day? Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Five takeaways from mandatory minicamp as Raiders ponder their celebrity," 12 June 2019 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

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

3 Jul 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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