\ 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 intensive rank 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

degree, echelon, footing, level, place, position, ranking, reach(es), rung, situation, standing, station, status, stratum

Synonyms: Verb

be, grade, place, rate, stand

Synonyms: Adjective

lush, luxuriant, prosperous, rampant, weedy

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


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.


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.


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

In February, the department store announced a multiyear restructuring program that that shrinks management ranks and, hopefully, makes the company more nimble. Anne D'innocenzio, Cincinnati.com, "Macy's sends ominous signal for retailers in 2Q," 14 Aug. 2019 Now the show is considering making its way to the college ranks. Stephen Means, cleveland.com, "HBO’s Hard Knocks is coming to college football: Buckeye Breakfast," 14 Aug. 2019 Factors that determined a district's overall rank include grades on academics, teachers, culture and diversity, parent and student surveys, healthy and safety, resources and facilities, clubs and activities and sports. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "The top 25 public high schools in the Houston area for 2020, according to Niche," 14 Aug. 2019 DJ Steward Position: Combo guard Size: 6-foot-3, 165 pounds 247Sports Composite national rank: 27 Also considering: Duke, DePaul, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas and others. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Multiple Louisville basketball targets in the Class of 2020 set visit dates," 14 Aug. 2019 Still, because of the danger of their work, police officers of all ranks wear amulets, in the shapes of sacred animals, and are blessed by a medicine man. Los Angeles Times, "On a vast reservation, female Navajo officers patrol with bulletproof vests and protective amulets," 13 Aug. 2019 Silky Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong has also joined the club's ranks, switching from Ajax for a fee of €75m, and coach Ernesto Valverde will be hoping the new signings can take his men to a third successive title. SI.com, "Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 13 Aug. 2019 Logan promises to secretly fast-track her through the corporate ranks and, eventually, install her at the top. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Won the Succession Game of Thrones This Week?," 12 Aug. 2019 Among men, the most successful graduates were more central: men in the top quartile of centrality achieved a job rank 1.5 times higher than men in the bottom quartile. Roberta Kwok, Quartz at Work, "To land top jobs, women need different types of networks than men," 12 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The move comes in an attempt to revive the Phillies' inconsistent offense, which ranks 19th in the majors in runs scored (557), 24th in batting average (.245) and 22nd in OPS (.738). Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "Struggling Phillies shake up coaching staff, naming ex-manager Charlie Manuel hitting coach," 14 Aug. 2019 In 30 games with the Giants this season, Dickerson has posted a 1.3 bWAR which ranks fifth among the players who have appeared for the club this year. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants to make daily roster moves to aid lineup, pitching staff this week," 13 Aug. 2019 All systems look good for a team that didn’t upgrade a defense that finished 29th and offense that ranked 31st last year. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde5: Here’s why Dolphins’ shot at No. 1 pick has taken some hits," 13 Aug. 2019 Last year, the Browns were penalized 112 times, which ranked 15th in the NFL. Terry Pluto, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Browns: Does Freddie Kitchens have the right approach to training camp?," 13 Aug. 2019 But there are deals to be enjoyed for a 2019 Escape, which always ranked among the top five in a field of at least a dozen small SUVs. San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 Ford Escape: Last of a generation," 12 Aug. 2019 That’s in a country that once ranked among Latin America’s most prosperous nations, producing wealth from the world’s largest crude reserves. Washington Post, "Venezuela’s moribund economy shows a pulse amid US sanctions," 12 Aug. 2019 The Expos, despite a $19-million payroll that ranked 27th out of 28 teams, had a 74-40 record — the best mark in baseball — and a six-game lead over Atlanta in the National League East when players walked off the job Aug. 12, 1994. Los Angeles Times, "MLB 1994 strike anniversary: Montreal Expos’ greatest season vanished overnight," 11 Aug. 2019 El Paso, a friendly, bilingual border community that consistently ranks as one of America’s safest cities, has long been central to Mr. O’Rourke’s message. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "After El Paso Shooting, Will Voters Revisit Beto O’Rourke?," 11 Aug. 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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Statistics for rank

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rank

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

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More Definitions for rank



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rank

Spanish Central: Translation of rank

Nglish: Translation of rank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rank for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rank

What made you want to look up rank? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not constant or steady

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