Synonyms & Antonyms of rack

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 a place set aside for sleeping
  • the clock struck midnight, signaling that it was time to hit the rack

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2 a state of great suffering of body or mind
  • suffering the rack of a sprained ankle, the climber had to make his way back down the mountain to camp
  • felt the rack of regret after losing her temper with her teenagers

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Synonyms & Antonyms of rack (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to cause persistent suffering to
  • the young man was racked with guilt over the lie he had told to his parents
  • the country has been racked by years of civil war

Synonyms for rack

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2 to injure by overuse, misuse, or pressure
  • she racked her brain trying to remember where she'd put the money
  • the sails of the boat were racked by the storm's winds

Synonyms for rack

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Frequently Asked Questions About rack

How is the word rack different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of rack are afflict, torment, torture, and try. While all these words mean "to inflict on a person something that is hard to bear," rack stresses straining or wrenching.

a body racked by pain

When would afflict be a good substitute for rack?

Although the words afflict and rack have much in common, afflict is a general term and applies to the causing of pain or suffering or of acute annoyance, embarrassment, or any distress.

ills that afflict the elderly

When is it sensible to use torment instead of rack?

The meanings of torment and rack largely overlap; however, torment suggests persecution or the repeated inflicting of suffering or annoyance.

a horse tormented by flies

Where would torture be a reasonable alternative to rack?

The words torture and rack can be used in similar contexts, but torture adds the implication of causing unbearable pain or suffering.

tortured by a sense of guilt

When is try a more appropriate choice than rack?

The words try and rack are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, try suggests imposing something that strains the powers of endurance or of self-control.

children often try their parents' patience

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Time Traveler for rack

Time Traveler

The first known use of rack was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Rack.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rack

Nglish: Translation of rack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rack for Arabic Speakers


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