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See also: ránk and ränk



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English rank ‎(strong, proud), from Old English ranc ‎(proud, haughty, arrogant, insolent, forward, overbearing, showy, ostentatious, splendid, bold, valiant, noble, brave, strong, full-grown, mature), from Proto-Germanic *rankaz ‎(straight), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃reǵ- ‎(straight, direct). Cognate with Dutch rank ‎(slender, slim), Low German rank ‎(slender, projecting, lank), Danish rank ‎(straight, erect, slender), Swedish rank ‎(slender, shaky, wonky), Icelandic rakkur ‎(straight, slender, bold, valiant).


rank ‎(comparative ranker or more rank, superlative rankest or most rank)

  1. Strong of its kind or in character; unmitigated; virulent; thorough; utter.
    rank treason;  rank nonsense
  2. Strong in growth; growing with vigour or rapidity, hence, coarse or gross.
    rank grass;  rank weeds
    • Bible, Genesis xli. 5
      And, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
    • 1944, Miles Burton, chapter 5, The Three Corpse Trick:
      The hovel stood in the centre of what had once been a vegetable garden, but was now a patch of rank weeds. Surrounding this, almost like a zareba, was an irregular ring of gorse and brambles, an unclaimed vestige of the original common.
  3. Suffering from overgrowth or hypertrophy; plethoric.
    • 1899, Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, section 1
      The moon had spread over everything a thin layer of silver—over the rank grass, over the mud, upon the wall of matted vegetation standing higher than the wall of a temple []
  4. Causing strong growth; producing luxuriantly; rich and fertile.
    rank land
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Mortimer to this entry?)
  5. Strong to the senses; offensive; noisome.
  6. Having a very strong and bad taste or odor.
    Your gym clothes are rank, bro – when'd you last wash 'em?
    • Robert Boyle (1627-1691)
      Divers sea fowls taste rank of the fish on which they feed.
  7. Complete, used as an intensifier (usually negative, referring to incompetence).
    I am a rank amateur as a wordsmith.
    • 2011 March 1, Phil McNulty, “Chelsea 2-1 Man Utd”, BBC:
      Chelsea remain rank outsiders to retain their crown and they still lie 12 points adrift of United, but Ancelotti will regard this as a performance that supports his insistence that they can still have a say when the major prizes are handed out this season.
  8. (informal) Gross, disgusting.
  9. (obsolete) Strong; powerful; capable of acting or being used with great effect; energetic; vigorous; headstrong.
  10. (obsolete) Inflamed with venereal appetite.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)


rank ‎(comparative more rank, superlative most rank)

  1. (obsolete) Quickly, eagerly, impetuously.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iii:
      The seely man seeing him ryde so rancke, / And ayme at him, fell flat to ground for feare [...].
    • Fairfax
      That rides so rank and bends his lance so fell.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English rank ‎(line, row), from Old French ranc, rang, reng ‎(line, row, rank) (Modern French rang), from Frankish *hring ‎(ring), from Proto-Germanic *hringaz ‎(something bent or curved).

Akin to Old High German (h)ring, Old Frisian hring, Old English hring, hrincg ‎(ring) (Modern English ring), Old Norse hringr ‎(ring, circle, queue, sword; ship). More at ring.


rank ‎(plural ranks)

  1. A row of people or things organized in a grid pattern, often soldiers [the corresponding term for the perpendicular columns in such a pattern is "file"].
    The front rank kneeled to reload while the second rank fired over their heads.
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 7, The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      Then there was no more cover, for they straggled out, not in ranks but clusters, from among orange trees and tall, flowering shrubs [] .
    1. (chess) one of the eight horizontal lines of squares on a chessboard [the corresponding term for a vertical line is "file"].
  2. (music) In a pipe organ, a set of pipes of a certain quality for which each pipe corresponds to one key or pedal.
  3. One's position in a list sorted by a shared property such as physical location, population, or quality
    Based on your test scores, you have a rank of 23.
    The fancy hotel was of the first rank.
  4. The level of one's position in a class-based society
  5. a level in an organization such as the military
    Private First Class (PFC) is the lowest rank in the Marines.
    He rose up through the ranks of the company from mailroom clerk to CEO.
  6. (taxonomy) a level in a scientific taxonomy system
    Phylum is the taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class.
  7. (linear algebra) Maximal number of linearly independent columns (or rows) of a matrix.
  8. The dimensionality of an array (computing) or tensor (mathematics).
  9. (chess) one of the eight horizontal lines of squares on a chessboard (i.e., those which run from letter to letter). The analog vertical lines are the files.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


rank ‎(third-person singular simple present ranks, present participle ranking, simple past and past participle ranked)

  1. To place abreast, or in a line.
  2. To have a ranking.
    Their defense ranked third in the league.
  3. To assign a suitable place in a class or order; to classify.
    • I. Watts
      Ranking all things under general and special heads.
    • Broome
      Poets were ranked in the class of philosophers.
    • Dr. H. More
      Heresy is ranked with idolatry and witchcraft.
  4. (US) To take rank of; to outrank.




Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle Dutch ranc, from Proto-Germanic *rankaz.[1]


rank ‎(comparative ranker, superlative rankst)

  1. slender, svelte
Inflection of rank
uninflected rank
inflected ranke
comparative ranker
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial rank ranker het rankst
het rankste
indefinite m./f. sing. ranke rankere rankste
n. sing. rank ranker rankste
plural ranke rankere rankste
definite ranke rankere rankste
partitive ranks rankers

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle Dutch ranc, ranke, from Old Dutch *rank, from Frankish hranca.


rank f ‎(plural ranken, diminutive rankje n)

  1. tendril, a thin winding stem;



  1. ^ J. de Vries & F. de Tollenaere, "Etymologisch Woordenboek", Uitgeverij Het Spectrum, Utrecht, 1986 (14de druk)



From Middle Low German rank, ranc.



rank ‎(comparative ranker, superlative am ranksten)

  1. (archaic, except in the phrase "rank und schlank") lissom


Related terms[edit]

External links[edit]

  • rank in Duden online