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 Days after last week’s debate, the responses of Biden, the campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and other party leaders have not provided comfort to all their rank and file. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 2 July 2024 Interim Chief Dominic Choi said the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for the LAPD’s rank and file, has signaled its support for binding arbitration and allowing the chief the authority to fire officers outright for misconduct. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 19 June 2024 As spring gave way to the summer of 2023, many in Alexa’s rank and file remained in the dark about how the digital assistant would meet the generative AI moment. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 13 June 2024 The two contracts — one representing rank and file police officers and sergeants while the other representing captains and lieutenants — were approved on a 22-3 and 23-2 majority respectively. Rachel Smith, The Courier-Journal, 26 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for rank and file 

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 14 Jul. 2024.

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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