RANK FILE

rank and file

noun
1.
the members of a group or organization apart from its leaders or officers.
2.
rank1 ( def 7a ).

Origin:
1590–1600

rank-and-file, adjective
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World English Dictionary
rank and file
 
n
1.  the ordinary soldiers of an army, excluding the officers
2.  the great mass or majority of any group or organization, as opposed to the leadership
3.  (modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of the rank and file: rank-and-file opinion; rank-and-file support
 
rank and filer
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

rank and file definition


The people who form the major portion of any group or organization, excluding the leaders: “The rumors of corruption at the top disturbed the party's rank and file.” This phrase comes from military usage, where enlisted men march in ranks (close abreast) and files (one behind another), whereas officers march outside these formations.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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