1 noun
1 POSITION IN ARMY/ORGANIZATION (C, U) the position or level that someone holds in an organization, especially in the police or armed forces: promotion to the rank of General | high/senior/low/junior rank: Bates is very young to hold such a senior rank.
2 the ranks
a) all the members of the armed forces who are not officers: be reduced to the ranks (=be punished by no longer being an officer) | rise from the ranks (=become an officer after being an ordinary soldier)
b) the people who belong to an organization or to a group: The pay freeze led to a lot of discontent in the ranks. | The Christian Democrats now face opposition from within their own ranks. | join the ranks of (=become a member of a group): She was forced to join the ranks of the self-employed.
3 close ranks if the people in a group close ranks, they join together to support each other against other people: At the first hint of trouble their family closes ranks.
4 break ranks
a) to stop supporting a group that you are a member of
b) if soldiers break ranks, they do not stay in line: the police broke ranks and used their batons indiscriminately
5 pull rank (on) informal to use your authority over someone to make them do what you want, especially unfairly: You may just have to pull rank and tell them they have to do it.
6 LINE (C)
a) a line of people or things: rank after rank/rank upon rank: On the shelves were rank after rank of liquor bottles.
b) a line of soldiers, police officers etc, standing side by side
7 of the first rank of the highest quality: Emily Dickinson is a poet of the first rank.
8 SOCIAL CLASS (C, U) someone's position in society: people of all ranks in society
9 TAXI (C) a place where taxis wait in a line to be hired; taxi rank
2 verb 1
a) (intransitive always + adv/prep, not in progressive) to have a particular position in a list of people or things that are put in order of quality or importance
(+ among/as/with): This recession ranks as one of the worst in recent times.
b) (transitive often passive) to decide the position of someone or something on a list based on quality or importance: be ranked fourth/number one etc: Agassi was at that time ranked sixth in the world. | rank sb/sth in order: Rank them in order of ability.
2 (T) AmE to have a higher rank than someone else; outrank: A general ranks a captain.
3 (transitive often passive) to arrange things in a regular order: There were several pairs of riding boots ranked neatly in the hall.
3 adjective
1 having a very strong and unpleasant smell or taste: rank tobacco
2 (only before noun) complete; total: a rank beginner at the job | rank disobedience | rank outsider (=person or animal that is not expected to win): The Olympic champion was beaten by a rank outsider.
3 a plant that is rank is too thick and has spread everywhere
— rankly adverb — rankness noun (U)

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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