I. rack 1 /ræk/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Sense 1-3,5-7: Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Middle Dutch ; Origin: rec 'frame' ]
[ Sense 4: Language: Old English ; Origin: wræc 'unhappiness, punishment' ]
1 . a frame or shelf that has bars or hooks on which you can put things:
a wine rack
a magazine rack
⇨ ↑ luggage rack , ↑ roof-rack
2 . the rack a piece of equipment that was used in the past to make people suffer severe pain by stretching their bodies:
Thousands of people were tortured on the rack.
3 . on the rack British English informal in a very difficult situation:
The company is now well and truly on the rack.
4 . go to rack and ruin if a building goes to rack and ruin, it gradually gets into a very bad condition because no one has looked after it:
The house had been left to go to rack and ruin.
5 . American English a three-sided frame used for arranging the balls at the start of a game of ↑ snooker or ↑ pool
6 . a rack of lamb/pork a fairly large piece of meat from the side of an animal, that contains several ↑ rib bones
7 . off the rack American English if you can buy something off the rack, you can buy it in a shop rather than having it specially made SYN off the peg British English :
A lot of designer clothes are now available off the rack.
II. rack 2 BrE AmE verb
1 . [transitive usually passive] to make someone suffer great mental or physical pain:
Great sobs racked her body.
be racked by/with something
Her face was racked with pain.
Liza was racked by guilt.
2 . rack your brains to try very hard to remember or think of something:
I racked my brains, trying to remember his name.
rack something ↔ up phrasal verb informal
to get a number or amount of something, especially a number of points in a competition:
He racked up 41 points.