rack

rack

synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of rack in English

English Online Dictionary. What means rack‎? What does rack mean?

English

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ɹæk/
  • Rhymes: -æk
  • Homophone: wrack

Etymology 1

From Middle English rakke, rekke, from Middle Dutch rac, recke, rec (Dutch rek), see rekken.

Noun

rack (plural racks)

  1. A series of one or more shelves, stacked one above the other
  2. Any of various kinds of frame for holding luggage or other objects on a vehicle or vessel.
    Synonym: luggage rack
  3. (historical) A device, incorporating a ratchet, used to torture victims by stretching them beyond their natural limits.
  4. (nautical) A piece or frame of wood, having several sheaves, through which the running rigging passes.
    Synonym: rack block
  5. (nautical, slang) A bunk.
  6. (nautical, by extension, slang, uncountable) Sleep.
  7. A distaff.
  8. (mechanical engineering) A bar with teeth on its face or edge, to work with those of a gearwheel, pinion, or worm, which is to drive or be driven by it.
  9. (mechanical engineering) A bar with teeth on its face or edge, to work with a pawl as a ratchet allowing movement in one direction only, used for example in a handbrake or crossbow.
  10. A cranequin, a mechanism including a rack, pinion and pawl, providing both mechanical advantage and a ratchet, used to bend and cock a crossbow.
  11. A set of antlers (as on deer, moose or elk).
  12. A cut of meat involving several adjacent ribs.
  13. (billiards, snooker) A hollow triangle used for aligning the balls at the start of a game.
  14. (slang, vulgar) A woman's breasts.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:breasts
  15. (climbing, caving) A friction device for abseiling, consisting of a frame with five or more metal bars, around which the rope is threaded.
  16. (climbing, slang) A climber's set of equipment for setting up protection and belays, consisting of runners, slings, carabiners, nuts, Friends, etc.
  17. A grate on which bacon is laid.
  18. (algebra) A set with a distributive binary operation whose result is unique.
  19. (Britain, slang) A thousand pounds (£1,000), especially if proceeds of crime
Derived terms
Translations

Verb

rack (third-person singular simple present racks, present participle racking, simple past and past participle racked)

  1. To place in or hang on a rack.
  2. To torture (someone) on the rack.
    • He was racked and miserably tormented.
    • 2011, Thomas Penn, Winter King, Penguin 2012, p. 228:
      As the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt later recalled, his father, Henry VII's jewel-house keeper Henry Wyatt, had been racked on the orders of Richard III, who had sat there and watched.
  3. To cause (someone) to suffer pain.
  4. (figuratively) To stretch or strain; to harass, or oppress by extortion.
    • The landlords there most shamefully rack their tenants.
    • Grant that I may never rack a Scripture simile beyond the true intent thereof
  5. (billiards, snooker, pool) To put the balls into the triangular rack and set them in place on the table.
    Synonym: rack up
  6. (slang, transitive) To strike (a person) in the testicles.
  7. (firearms) To (manually) load (a round of ammunition) from the magazine or belt into firing position in an automatic or semiautomatic firearm.
  8. (firearms) To move the slide bar on a shotgun in order to chamber the next round.
  9. (mining) To wash (metals, ore, etc.) on a rack.
  10. (nautical) To bind together, as two ropes, with cross turns of yarn, marline, etc.
  11. (structural engineering) Tending to shear a structure (that is, force it to move in different directions at different points).
    Synonym: shear
Usage notes

In senses “torture” and “suffer pain”, frequently confused with wrack (destroy) (more rarely, wrack (wreckage)), both as stand-alone verb and in compounds. In most uses, rack is correct, and wrack is incorrect. Etymologically, nerve-racking (stressful), pain-racked, and rack one's brain, rack one's brains (think hard) are correct, while rack and ruin and storm-racked are incorrect, variants of wrack and ruin (complete destruction) and storm-wracked (wrecked by a storm).

Usage guidance differs: either prefer the etymologically correct term, prefer rack to (archaic) wrack, or use either. The etymologically correct forms are preferred by some style guides, but the unetymological forms are well-established and in wide use, and other style guides simply consider them variant spellings. Other style guides categorically ban wrack as archaic, suggesting modern synonyms like wreck, ruin, or destroy. In some cases style guides are confused by the etymology, or feature unhistorical forms such as nerve-wracking.

This confusion dates to Early Modern English in the 16th century (as in rack and ruin), and is presumably due to the influence of ⟨wr⟩ in words such as wreak, wreck, wrench, etc., which connote discomfort and torment. Formally termed the graphaesthesia of the graphaestheme ⟨wr⟩, since identical sound /r/ to ⟨r⟩; compare with phonaesthesia. Compare rapt/wrapt, and also ⟨gh⟩ as in ghost and ghastly.

Derived terms
  • nerve-racking
  • pain-racked
  • rack one's brain, rack one's brains
Translations

Etymology 2

From Old English reċċan (to stretch out, extend).

Verb

rack (third-person singular simple present racks, present participle racking, simple past and past participle racked)

  1. To stretch a person's joints.
Derived terms
  • rack one's brain
Translations

Etymology 3

From Middle English reken, from Old Norse reka (to be drifted, tost)

The noun is from Middle English rak, rakke, from Middle English rek (drift; thing tossed ashore; jetsam), from the verb.

Verb

rack (third-person singular simple present racks, present participle racking, simple past and past participle racked)

  1. To drive; move; go forward rapidly; stir
  2. To fly, as vapour or broken clouds
Translations

Noun

rack (uncountable)

  1. Thin, flying, broken clouds, or any portion of floating vapour in the sky.
    • 1851, Charles Kingsley, Three Fishers
      And the night rack came rolling up.
    • 1607, William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV, scene 14
      Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish ... That which is now a horse ... The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct

Etymology 4

From Middle English rakken.

Verb

rack (third-person singular simple present racks, present participle racking, simple past and past participle racked)

  1. (brewing) To clarify, and thereby deter further fermentation of, beer, wine or cider by draining or siphoning it from the dregs.
Translations

Etymology 5

See rack (that which stretches), or rock (verb).

Verb

rack (third-person singular simple present racks, present participle racking, simple past and past participle racked)

  1. (of a horse) To amble fast, causing a rocking or swaying motion of the body; to pace.

Noun

rack (plural racks)

  1. A fast amble.

Etymology 6

See wreck.

Noun

rack (plural racks)

  1. (obsolete) A wreck; destruction.
    • All goes to rack.
Derived terms
  • rack and ruin

Etymology 7

Noun

rack (plural racks)

  1. (obsolete) A young rabbit, or its skin.

Etymology 8

Noun

rack

  1. Alternative form of arak

References

Further reading

  • rack on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • rack (billiards) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia

Anagrams

  • Cark, cark

Romanian

Etymology

Unadapted borrowing from English rack.

Noun

rack n (plural rackuri)

  1. rack

Declension


Spanish

Noun

rack m (plural racks)

  1. rack

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.