American English

Definition of rack noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1(often in compounds) a piece of equipment, usually made of metal or wooden bars, that is used for holding things or for hanging things on a wine/plate/magazine rack I looked through a rack of clothes at the back of the store. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a wire rack. see also luggage rack, roof rack, towel rack
  2. 2the rack an instrument of torture, used in the past for punishing and hurting people. Their arms and legs were tied to the wooden frame and then pulled in opposite directions, stretching the body.
  3. 3rack of lamb a piece of lamb that includes the front ribs and is cooked in the oven
  4. 4a part of a machine that consists of a bar with parts that a wheel or gear can fit into
  5. Idioms
    go to rack and ruin
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    to get into a bad condition They let the house go to rack and ruin.
    off the rack
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    (of clothes) made to a standard average size and not made especially to fit you He buys his clothes off the rack. an off-the-rack suit
    on the rack
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    feeling extreme pressure, anxiety, or pain
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: rack