\ ˈraŋk How to pronounce rank (audio) \

Definition of rank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : relative standing or position
b : a degree or position of dignity, eminence, or excellence : distinction soon took rank as a leading attorney— J. D. Hicks
c : high social position the privileges of rank
d : a grade of official standing in a hierarchy
2 : an aggregate of individuals classed together usually used in plural
3a : row, series
b : a row of people
c(1) : a line of soldiers ranged side by side in close order
(2) ranks plural : armed forces
(3) ranks plural : the body of enlisted personnel
d : any of the rows of squares that extend across a chessboard perpendicular to the files
e British : stand sense 6
4 : an orderly arrangement : formation
5 : the order according to some statistical characteristic (such as the score on a test)
6 : any of a series of classes of coal based on increasing alteration of the parent vegetable matter, increasing carbon content, and increasing fuel value
7 : the number of linearly independent rows or columns in a matrix


ranked; ranking; ranks

Definition of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to determine the relative position of : rate a highly ranked prospect
2 : to arrange in lines or in a regular formation
3 : to take precedence of

intransitive verb

1 : to take or have a position in relation to others ranks first in her class
2 : to form or move in ranks

Definition of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : offensive in odor or flavor especially : rancid
2a : shockingly conspicuous must lecture him on his rank disloyalty— David Walden
b : outright used as an intensiverank beginners
3 : luxuriantly or excessively vigorous in growth
4 : offensively gross or coarse : foul
6 : high in amount or degree : fraught
7 archaic : lustful, ruttish
8 obsolete : grown too large

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Other Words from rank


rankly adverb
rankness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rank

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for rank


malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling. malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive. malodorous fertilizers stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting. prisoners were held in stinking cells the fetid odor of skunk cabbage noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive. a stagnant, noisome sewer putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter. the putrid smell of rotting fish rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell. rank cigar smoke fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age. a fusty attic the musty odor of a damp cellar

flagrant, glaring, gross, rank mean conspicuously bad or objectionable. flagrant applies usually to offenses or errors so bad that they can neither escape notice nor be condoned. flagrant abuse of the office of president glaring implies painful or damaging obtrusiveness of something that is conspicuously wrong, faulty, or improper. glaring errors gross implies the exceeding of reasonable or excusable limits. gross carelessness rank applies to what is openly and extremely objectionable and utterly condemned. rank heresy

Examples of rank in a Sentence

Noun people of high rank and profession She's not concerned about rank or wealth. officers with the rank of captain He rose to the rank of partner in the law firm. He longed to join the upper social ranks. military ranks such as private, corporal, and sergeant He moved up through the ranks to become vice president of the company. The organization's ranks have doubled in the past two years. The flu swept through the ranks, infecting almost every soldier. Several men were selected from the ranks. Verb A magazine recently ranked the school as one of the best in the country. The city currently ranks as the world's largest. Students who rank in the top third of their class have a better chance of being accepted to the college of their choice. Adjective You can't expect a rank beginner like her to know all the rules of the game. covered with trumpet vines so rank you couldn't see the trellis beneath them
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those who helped stop Friday’s London Bridge suspect in his tracks join the ranks of a number of ordinary people from around the world who have demonstrated extraordinary courage. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "‘Hero’ bystanders took down the London Bridge attacker. They’re not the first to fight back.," 29 Nov. 2019 Muskego football has joined the ranks of the nation's elite. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On the heels of its second straight state championship, Muskego gets spot in USA Today Top 25," 25 Nov. 2019 Celebrities like Lili Reinhart and Iris Law have done so in the past, and now, another big name is joining the ranks: Pete Davidson. Gianluca Russo, Allure, "Pete Davidson Revealed How He Deals With Cystic Acne," 23 Nov. 2019 Joining the ranks of Butler Blue III and Georgia's Uga, UIndy introduced Grady — a 75-pound greyhound — to the world Wednesday during a ceremony at the Shreve Atrium. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Meet Grady, a former racing greyhound and UIndy's new live mascot," 20 Nov. 2019 Even in an era when LGBTQ teens are increasingly joining the ranks of homecoming royalty, some feel uncomfortable with the highly gendered nature of the traditional fall dance: the kings and queens, the gowns and suits. Nara Schoenberg, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Park District hosts its first homecoming dance for LGBTQ teens, complete with a DJ, voguing and a stately ballroom," 12 Nov. 2019 In fact, the average income for a professional with an advanced degree was about $95,000 in 2016 — far below the roughly $515,000 in annual income required to join the ranks of America's richest. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "The value of a high school degree has collapsed since 1980," 11 Nov. 2019 The listing had disappeared from the platform’s website by Oct. 29, but not before joining the ranks of other noteworthy Airbnb experiences. New York Times, "Chelsea Apartment! Only $90 a Night! (Ignore the NYCHA Sign)," 9 Nov. 2019 Actress Lili Reinhart was just named the new face of the legendary beauty brand, Covergirl, joining the ranks of fellow spokesmodels Issa Rae and Aysha Curry. Katie Intner, PEOPLE.com, "Easy, Breezy, Beautiful! Lili Reinhart Is the New Face of Covergirl - and Did Her Own Makeup on Set," 30 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Students from the United States were ranked level 3 for reading and science, and level 2 for math, while teens from Britain scored a level 3 ranking in all three categories. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Teens from China's wealthiest regions rank top of the class in global education survey," 3 Dec. 2019 In a letter to Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadler, ranking member Doug Collins complained that neither the witness list for Wednesday's hearing nor the report from the House Intelligence Committee have been publicized. Melissa Quinn, Grace Segers, CBS News, "House Democrats release 300-page impeachment report — live updates," 3 Dec. 2019 Nine ranked teams will play in this week’s Northern California games at various venues. Mitch Stephens, SFChronicle.com, "Chronicle top 25 football: Open Division-bound De La Salle remains No. 1," 2 Dec. 2019 Also, none of its opponents are currently ranked — though Virginia, the ACC Coastal champ, might slid into the top 25 after beating No. Henry Mckenna, For The Win, "Dabo Swinney rants about perceived bias against Clemson: 'It's the dadgumest thing'," 30 Nov. 2019 Metro is ranked online as one among the top 20 clubs in the nation. Pat Stoetzer, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Volleyball Player of the Year: Westminster’s Jilienne Widener caps career as one of Carroll County’s all-time greats," 30 Nov. 2019 Steamboat was ranked sixth on the list of best ski towns, the only Colorado town to make the list. John Meyer, The Know, "North America’s best ski resort? USA Today readers choose Winter Park," 29 Nov. 2019 Keeping in trend with a long-standing preference for seeking education abroad, Nigeria was the only African country ranked among the top 25 origin countries for international students in the US over the past year. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians are spending half a billion dollars to school in the United States," 25 Nov. 2019 Trump, by contrast, was ranked 259th with a net worth of just over $3 billion. Arkansas Online, "Michael Bloomberg launches Democratic presidential bid," 24 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The department did not rank intersections by crashes for 2014 and 2015. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Dempster-Potter had highest number of reported crashes last year: Park Ridge police," 19 June 2018 And while Latvian elections don’t exactly rank high on the list of an American president’s priorities, the White House could have guessed what the Russians were gearing up to do — and should have sent them a forceful message to knock it off. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Yes, Obama Mishandled Russia's Election Hacking. But So Has Trump," 22 Feb. 2018 Key to that turnaround has been the Horns' ability to get opposing offenses off the field — their rank sixth nationally in third-down conversion defense. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "College football preview: Oklahoma State at Texas," 20 Oct. 2017 Any attempt to model tax liability in the new system will be rank speculation. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "A Fairer Tax Code Is a More Efficient Tax Code," 17 Oct. 2017 The design style did not rank number one in any state. Jenna Milliner-waddell, ELLE Decor, "The Most-Searched Design Style In The United States Is So Unexpected," 10 Aug. 2017 The nexus inspires the most rank forms of situational ethics and rationalizations. The Hive, "Obama Cashes In—And the Media Piles On," 28 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rank.' 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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1573, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for rank


Middle English, from Anglo-French renc, reng, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German hring ring — more at ring


Middle English, from Old English ranc overbearing, strong; akin to Old Norse rakkr erect and perhaps to Old English riht right — more at right

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Time Traveler for rank

Time Traveler

The first known use of rank was in the 13th century

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Statistics for rank

Last Updated

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Rank.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rank?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=r&file=rank0001. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for rank


How to pronounce rank (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a position in a society, organization, group, etc.
: a high position in a society, organization, group, etc.
: the people or things that belong to a particular organization or group



English Language Learners Definition of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

: to place (someone or something) in a particular position among a group of people or things that are being judged according to quality, ability, size, etc.
: to have a particular position in a group of people or things that are being judged according to quality, ability, size, etc.
: to arrange (people or things) in a line or row

English Language Learners Definition of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

: having a strong, unpleasant smell
: very bad and obvious
: complete or total


\ ˈraŋk How to pronounce rank (audio) \

Kids Definition of rank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : row entry 2 sense 1, series ranks of houses
2 : a line of soldiers standing side by side
3 ranks plural : the body of enlisted persons in an army
4 : position within a group Who is highest in rank in this office?
5 : high social position
6 : official grade or position the rank of major

Kids Definition of rank (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : strong and active in growth rank weeds
2 : outright entry 2 sense 1 rank dishonesty
3 : having an unpleasant smell The room was rank with smoke.


ranked; ranking

Kids Definition of rank (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : to take or have a certain position in a group He ranks near the top of the class.
2 : to arrange in a classification
3 : to arrange in lines or in a formation

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More from Merriam-Webster on rank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rank

Spanish Central: Translation of rank

Nglish: Translation of rank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rank for Arabic Speakers

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