American English

Definition of rank noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    position in organization/army, etc.
  1. 1[uncountable, countable] the position, especially a high position, that someone has in a particular organization, society, etc. She was not used to associating with people of high social rank. He rose through the ranks to become managing director. Within months she was elevated to ministerial rank. Promotion will mean that I'm immediately above him in rank. see also ranking
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] the position that someone has in the army, navy, police, etc. He was soon promoted to the rank of captain. officers of junior/senior rank a campaign to attract more women into the military ranks officers, and other ranks (= people who are not officers) The colonel was stripped of his rank (= was given a lower position, especially as a punishment).
  3. 3the ranks [plural] the position of ordinary soldiers rather than officers He served in the ranks for most of the war. He rose from the ranks (= from being an ordinary soldier) to become a captain.
  4. quality
  5. 4[singular] the degree to which someone or something is of high quality a painter of the first rank a country that is no longer in the front rank of world powers The findings are arranged in rank order according to performance.
  6. members of group
  7. 5the ranks [plural] the members of a particular group or organization We have a number of international players in our ranks. At 50, he was forced to join the ranks of the unemployed. There were serious divisions within the party's own ranks.
  8. line/row
  9. 6[countable] a line or row of soldiers, police, etc. standing next to each other They watched as ranks of marching infantry passed the window. They fired at random into the enemy ranks.
  10. 7[countable] a line or row of people or things massed ranks of spectators The trees grew in serried ranks (= very closely together).
  11. in statistics
  12. 8[countable] (statistics) a number that gives the position of a member of a set of numbers
  13. Idioms
      break ranks
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    1. 1(of soldiers, police, etc.) to fail to remain in line
    2. 2(of the members of a group) to refuse to support the group or the organization of which they are members Large numbers of senators felt compelled to break ranks over the issue.
      close ranks
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    1. 1if a group of people close ranks, they work closely together to defend themselves, especially when they are being criticized It's not unusual for the police to close ranks when one of their officers is being investigated.
    2. 2if soldiers close ranks, they move closer together in order to defend themselves
    pull rank (on somebody)
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    to make use of your place or status in society or at work to make someone do what you want
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: rank