rank

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: relative standing or position
b
: a degree or position of dignity, eminence, or excellence : distinction
soon took rank as a leading attorneyJ. 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
3
a
: 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

rank

2 of 3

verb

ranked; ranking; ranks

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

rank

3 of 3

adjective

1
: offensive in odor or flavor
especially : rancid
2
a
: shockingly conspicuous
must lecture him on his rank disloyaltyDavid Walden
b
: outright
used as an intensive
rank beginners
3
: luxuriantly or excessively vigorous in growth
4
: offensively gross or coarse : foul
5
6
: high in amount or degree : fraught
7
archaic : lustful, ruttish
8
obsolete : grown too large
rankly adverb
rankness noun
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

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The Queen Consort, 75, is modernizing her elevated royal rank by not having ladies-in-waiting as Queen Elizabeth did. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2022 The Mavericks’ upcoming five-game road trip still might not provide clarity about their rank among West contenders. Dallas News, 7 Jan. 2023 Mast sponsored legislation that would allow service members to return to duty at their same rank if they were dismissed because of refusal to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. Rachel Looker, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2023 The caption identified the male captains, acknowledging their rank, but referred to Capt. Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec. 2022 He was sentenced to four months' confinement and had to pay $700 for four months in forfeiture, and had his rank reduced. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 30 Dec. 2022 According to Chinese lore, the Jade Emperor organized a competition among animals in his kingdom to determine their rank in the lunar calendar, and a variety of them took on the challenge. Nancy Olson, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 With a regional center of manufacturing excellence, Wisconsin would be in a position to build on its high rank for manufacturing employment and increase its middling manufacturing payroll average. Kathleen Gallagher, Journal Sentinel, 22 Dec. 2022 Its 2023 name trend report noted the name Stetson moving up 187 places in its baby-name rank, and Walker jumping up 59 places. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 19 Dec. 2022
Verb
Additional countries and intergovernmental agencies are sure to follow, with the European continent more broadly also likely to rank high up the list of warm years. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 29 Dec. 2022 Just as companies put workers on performance improvement plans or stack rank them, executives must be held accountable to the same policies. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 Olson led all golfers in iWR (-1.035) which is the stat AZPrep365 uses to statistically rank golfers. Lucas Gordon, The Arizona Republic, 25 Dec. 2022 Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is typically the busiest shopping day of the season, according to store foot traffic tracker Sensormatic Solutions, and is expected to rank No. 1 again this year. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2022 Ian Agol proved a 1981 conjecture about how to rank the complexity of knots. Konstantin Kakaes, Quanta Magazine, 22 Dec. 2022 Young adults, low-income adults and parents were most likely to rank their mental health as fair or poor. Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News, 21 Dec. 2022 Every year, those folks at U.S. News & World Report ask a team of medical professionals to rank approximately 40 diets. Melissa Matthews, Men's Health, 19 Dec. 2022 The Jets’ defense continues to rank #1 in overall efficiency at ProFootballFocus. cleveland, 18 Dec. 2022
Adjective
So if your dog is starting to smell a little bit rank, read on. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 13 Oct. 2022 The Escape itself, though, is a mid-rank player overall. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 5 May 2022 The report also did not re-rank water parks, but topping the attendance in the U.S. for 2020 was Universal’s Volcano Bay and Aquatica, part of SeaWorld Orlando. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, 28 Oct. 2021 In none has the national government deliberately stepped away from managing the crisis or substituted rank partisanship for the sober assessment of scientific knowledge. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 In none has the national government deliberately stepped away from managing the crisis or substituted rank partisanship for the sober assessment of scientific knowledge. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 In none has the national government deliberately stepped away from managing the crisis or substituted rank partisanship for the sober assessment of scientific knowledge. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 In none has the national government deliberately stepped away from managing the crisis or substituted rank partisanship for the sober assessment of scientific knowledge. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 In none has the national government deliberately stepped away from managing the crisis or substituted rank partisanship for the sober assessment of scientific knowledge. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, "row, series, high social position," borrowed from Anglo-Frenchrenc, ranc "line of soldiers, jousting lists, line or rank of persons or things" (continental Old & Middle French also "position in a series or class, high social position"), going back to Old Low Franconian *hringa- "circle, ring," going back to Germanic *hrenga — more at ring entry 1

Verb

derivative of rank entry 1

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1573, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near rank

Cite this Entry

“Rank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rank. Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

rank

1 of 3 adjective
1
: strong and active in growth
rank weeds
2
: offensively gross or vulgar : foul
rank language
3
a
: very noticeable
rank dishonesty
b
: outright entry 2 sense 1
rank beginners
4
: offensive in odor or flavor
rankly adverb
rankness noun

rank

2 of 3 noun
1
2
a
: a line of soldiers standing side by side
b
: the body of enlisted persons in an army
rose from the ranks
3
: a group of individuals classed together
usually used in plural
in the ranks of the unemployed
4
: position within a group
a poet of high rank
5
: official grade or position
the rank of general
6
: high social position
a person of rank

rank

3 of 3 verb
1
: to arrange in lines or in a formation
2
: to determine the position of in relation to others : rate
a highly ranked player
3
: to come before in rank
a captain ranks a lieutenant
4
: to take or have a certain position in a group
ranks third in the class

More from Merriam-Webster on rank

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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