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rack1

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited:
a clothes rack; a luggage rack.
2.
a fixture containing several tiered shelves, often affixed to a wall:
a book rack; a spice rack.
3.
a spreading framework set on a wagon for carrying hay, straw, or the like, in large loads.
4.
Pool.
  1. a wooden frame of triangular shape within which the balls are arranged before play.
  2. the balls so arranged:
    He took aim at the rack.
5.
Machinery.
  1. a bar, with teeth on one of its sides, adapted to engage with the teeth of a pinion (rack and pinion) or the like, as for converting circular into rectilinear motion or vice versa.
  2. a bar having a series of notches engaging with a pawl or the like.
6.
a former instrument of torture consisting of a framework on which a victim was tied, often spread-eagled, by the wrists and ankles, to be slowly stretched by spreading the parts of the framework.
7.
a cause or state of intense suffering of body or mind.
8.
torment; anguish.
9.
violent strain.
10.
a pair of antlers.
11.
Slang. a bed, cot, or bunk:
I spent all afternoon in the rack.
verb (used with object)
12.
to torture; distress acutely; torment:
His body was racked with pain.
13.
to strain in mental effort:
to rack one's brains.
14.
to strain by physical force or violence.
15.
to strain beyond what is normal or usual.
16.
to stretch the body of (a person) in torture by means of a rack.
17.
Nautical. to seize (two ropes) together side by side.
Verb phrases
18.
rack out, Slang. to go to bed; go to sleep:
I racked out all afternoon.
19.
rack up,
  1. Pool. to put (the balls) in a rack.
  2. Informal. to tally, accumulate, or amass as an achievement or score:
    The corporation racked up the greatest profits in its history.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English rakke, rekke (noun) < Middle Dutch rac, rec, recke; compare Middle Low German reck, German Reck
Related forms
rackingly, adverb
Can be confused
rack, wrack, wreak, wreck.
racked, wracked, wreaked, wrecked.
Synonyms
7. torture, pain, agony, tribulation, ordeal. 12. See torment.

rack2

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
ruin or destruction; wrack.
Verb phrases
2.
rack up, Slang. to wreck, especially a vehicle.
Idioms
3.
go to rack and ruin, to decay, decline, or become destroyed:
His property went to rack and ruin in his absence.
Origin
1590-1600; variant of wrack1

rack3

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
the fast pace of a horse in which the legs move in lateral pairs but not simultaneously.
verb (used without object)
2.
(of horses) to move in a rack.
Origin
1570-80; perhaps variant of rock2

rack4

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
Also called cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.
verb (used without object)
2.
to drive or move, especially before the wind.
Also, wrack.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English rak, reck(e); origin uncertain

rack5

[rak] /ræk/
verb (used with object)
1.
to draw off (wine, cider, etc.) from the lees.
Origin
1425-75; late Middle English < Old French; compare obsolete French raqué (of wine) pressed from the dregs of grapes

rack6

[rak] /ræk/
noun
1.
the neck portion of mutton, pork, or veal.
2.
the rib section of a foresaddle of lamb, mutton, or sometimes veal.
Origin
1560-70; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rack
  • It is not unusual to arrive at a destination and find the rack full.
  • The hinge allows the rack to fold out for use and back inside the cabinet for storage.
  • Espial investigations merely leads to more paperwork, tying up lobbying rack earnings.
  • Turn a scavenged piece of driftwood found shore-side into an organic modern entryway rack.
  • Giving away a product or service builds the kind of customer attention and loyalty that rack up earnings.
  • The rack of veal with rosemary and juniper is sweet and tender, with the scent of gin at the bone.
  • Most also come with a little steam rack that you put on top of the rice and can steam veggies or poach meat on top.
  • Loosen cake from pan with a slender spatula, then invert onto a rack.
  • Sprinkle the rack of chops with salt and pepper and place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
  • Prospective candidates rack up big debts to bribe voters and political parties.
British Dictionary definitions for rack

rack1

/ræk/
noun
1.
a framework for holding, carrying, or displaying a specific load or object: a plate rack, a hat rack, a hay rack, a luggage rack
2.
a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions
3.
a framework fixed to an aircraft for carrying bombs, rockets, etc
4.
the rack, an instrument of torture that stretched the body of the victim
5.
a cause or state of mental or bodily stress, suffering, etc; anguish; torment (esp in the phrase on the rack)
6.
(slang, mainly US) a woman's breasts
7.
(US & Canadian, in pool, snooker, etc)
  1. the triangular frame used to arrange the balls for the opening shot
  2. the balls so grouped Brit equivalent frame
verb (transitive)
8.
to torture on the rack
9.
Also wrack. to cause great stress or suffering to: guilt racked his conscience
10.
Also wrack. to strain or shake (something) violently, as by great physical force: the storm racked the town
11.
to place or arrange in or on a rack: to rack bottles of wine
12.
to move (parts of machinery or a mechanism) using a toothed rack
13.
to raise (rents) exorbitantly; rack-rent
14.
rack one's brains, to strain in mental effort, esp to remember something or to find the solution to a problem
See also rack up
Derived Forms
racker, noun
Word Origin
C14 rekke, probably from Middle Dutch rec framework; related to Old High German recchen to stretch, Old Norse rekja to spread out

rack2

/ræk/
noun
1.
destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)
Word Origin
C16: variant of wrack1

rack3

/ræk/
noun
1.
another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse
Word Origin
C16: perhaps based on rock²

rack4

/ræk/
noun
1.
a group of broken clouds moving in the wind
verb
2.
(intransitive) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind
Word Origin
Old English wrǣc what is driven; related to Gothic wraks persecutor, Swedish vrak wreckage

rack5

/ræk/
verb (transitive)
1.
to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs
2.
to fill a container with (beer, wine, etc)
Word Origin
C15: from Old Provençal arraca, from raca dregs of grapes after pressing

rack6

/ræk/
noun
1.
the neck or rib section of mutton, pork, or veal
Word Origin
Old English hrace; related to Old High German rahho, Danish harke, Swedish harkla to clear one's throat

wrack1

/ræk/
noun
1.
collapse or destruction (esp in the phrase wrack and ruin)
2.
something destroyed or a remnant of such
verb
3.
a variant spelling of rack1
Usage note
The use of the spelling wrack rather than rack in sentences such as she was wracked by grief or the country was wracked by civil war is very common but is thought by many people to be incorrect
Word Origin
Old English wræc persecution, misery; related to Gothic wraka, Old Norse rāk. Compare wreck, wretch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rack
n.

"frame with bars," c.1300, possibly from Middle Dutch rec "framework," literally "something stretched out, related to recken (modern rekken) "stretch out," cognate with Old English reccan "to stretch out," from Proto-Germanic *rak- (cf. Old Saxon rekkian, Old Frisian reza, Old Norse rekja, Old High German recchen, German recken, Gothic uf-rakjan "to stretch out"), from PIE *rog-, from root *reg- "to move in a straight line" (see regal).

Meaning "instrument of torture" first recorded early 15c., perhaps from German rackbank, originally an implement for stretching leather, etc. Mechanical meaning "toothed bar" is from 1797 (see pinion). Meaning "set of antlers" is first attested 1945, American English; hence slang sense of "a woman's breasts" (especially if large), by 1991. Meaning "framework for displaying clothes" is from 1948; hence off the rack (1951) of clothing, as opposed to tailored.

type of gait of a horse, 1580s, from rack (v.) "move with a fast, lively gait" 1520s in this sense (implied in racking), of unknown origin; perhaps from French racquassure "racking of a horse in his pace," itself of unknown origin. Or perhaps a variant of rock (v.1).

"clouds driven before the wind," c.1300, also "rush of wind, collision, crash," originally a northern word, possibly from Old English racu "cloud" (or an unrecorded Scandinavian cognate of it), reinforced by Old Norse rek "wreckage, jetsam," or by influence of Old English wræc "something driven;" from Proto-Germanic *wrakaz, from PIE root *wreg- "to push, shove" (see wreak-). Often confused with wrack (n.), especially in phrase rack and ruin (1590s). The distinction is that rack is "driven clouds;" wrack is "seaweed cast up on shore."

"cut of animal meat and bones," 1560s, of unknown origin; perhaps from some resemblance to rack (n.1). Cf. rack-bone "vertebrae" (1610s).

v.

"to stretch out for drying," also "to torture on the rack," early 15c., from rack (n.1). Of other pains from 1580s. Figurative sense of "to torment" is from c.1600. Meaning "raise above a fair level" (of rent, etc.) is from 1550s. Meaning "fit with racks" is from 1580s. Teenager slang meaning "to sleep" is from 1960s (rack (n.) was Navy slang for "bed" in 1940s). Related: Racked; racking. Rack up "register, accumulate, achieve" is first attested 1943 (in "Billboard"), probably from method of keeping score in pool halls.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rack

rack

verb
  1. (also rack out) To sleep; nap; cop zs: I'll rack out for awhile on the grass till I get it together (1960s+ Teenagers)
  2. To denigrate severely; trash: Why rack Clinton? (1990s+)
Related Terms

meat rack, off-the-rack, rim-rock

[probably fr torture on the rack, a stretching machine, the verb found by 1433]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with rack
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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