But ranker than violets, harsher than kisses, lurked the blunt, unmistakable odor of ashes.
As you all know, I am a ranker, and I received my commission for that business.
It is clear that the President saw in this punctilio about a humane act, whose "offense was ranker."
ranker, a commissioned officer in the army who has risen from the ranks.
A distant one; but my mother married a penniless army captain, and a ranker.
We also noticed that the vegetation was ranker and no doubt the soil was very rich.
Out here one learns to appreciate the ranker more, and the commissioned man less.
The gown of the dead woman made a little patch of melancholy color against the green of the grass and ranker ground growth.
"There was at least one who was not a ranker," said Dick, and there was something akin to awe in his voice.
The comparative openness of the village began to give way to the ranker undergrowth of the plantations behind it.
early 14c., "row, line series;" c.1400, a row of an army, from Old French renc, ranc "row, line" (Modern French rang), from Frankish *hring or some other Germanic source (cf. Old High German hring "circle, ring"), from Proto-Germanic *khrengaz "circle, ring" (see ring (n.1)).
Meaning "a social division, class of persons" is from early 15c. Meaning "high station in society" is from early 15c. Meaning "a relative position" is from c.1600.
Old English ranc "proud, overbearing, showy," from Proto-Germanic *rankaz (cf. Danish rank "right, upright," German rank "slender," Old Norse rakkr "straight, erect"), perhaps from PIE *reg- "to stretch, straighten" (see right (adj.)). In reference to plant growth, "vigorous, luxuriant, abundant, copious" it is recorded from c.1300. Related: Rankly; rankness.
Sense evolved in Middle English to "large and coarse" (c.1300), then, via notion of "excessive and unpleasant," to "corrupt, loathsome, foul" (mid-14c.), perhaps from influence of Middle French rance "rancid." In 17c. also "lewd, lustful."
Much used 16c. as a pejorative intensive (cf. rank folly). This is possibly the source of the verb meaning "to reveal another's guilt" (1929, underworld slang), and that of "to harass, abuse," 1934, U.S. black dialect, though this also may be from the role of the activity in establishing social hierarchy (from rank (n.)).
1570s, "arrange in lines;" 1590s, "put in order, classify; assign a rank to," from rank (n.). Related: Ranked; ranking.
[second sense used by 1960s teenagers in the preferred variant rank out, both as a verb phrase and a noun phrase]