Meaning of RACK in English

I. ˈrak noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English rac, rak; probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian & Swedish dialect rak wreck, wreckage; akin to Old English wrecan to drive — more at wreak


a. obsolete : shock of meeting : rush , charge

b. obsolete : a sound as of a collision : crash


a. : a wind-driven mass of high often broken clouds

b. obsolete : a driving mist or fog

II. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

: to fly or scud in high wind

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English rekke, racke, probably from Middle Dutch rec framework; akin to Old English reccan to stretch, Old High German recchen, Old Norse rekja to spread out, Gothic uf rakjan to stretch out, Greek oregein — more at right

1. dialect chiefly England : a bar or a set of bars especially for supporting a roasting spit

2. : a framework for holding fodder for livestock usually with upright partitions so placed as to leave room only for one animal's head between them


a. : an instrument of torture formerly much used in Europe and consisting of a frame having rollers at each end to which the limbs are fastened and between which the body is stretched

b. : a framework for stretching leather to a certain specified pull used for purposes of official measurement of the area and thickness of skins and hides

c. : an instrument for bending a crossbow


a. : a cause of anguish or pain or the resulting suffering

the rack of gout

b. : rack rent

c. : a straining or wrenching

a tree twisted by the rack of storms

5. : a framework, stand, or grating on or in which articles are placed (as for keeping or for display)

clothes rack

cake rack

bottle rack


a. : a frame fitted to a wagon or truck for carrying hay, straw, grain, tobacco on the stalk, or other bulky loads

b. : a series of bins or compartments into which items may be sorted

mail rack

c. : any compartmented container for holding type cases, galleys, forms, leads, or furniture

d. : a stationary inclined frame or table on which ores are washed

6. : a frame placed in a stream to stop the passage of fish and floating or suspended matter

7. or rack block : a piece or frame of wood having several sheaves through which the running rigging of a ship passes


a. : a bar with teeth on one face for gearing with those of a pinion, bevel wheel, or worm gear

b. : a notched bar used as a ratchet to engage with a pawl, click, or detent

c. : a sector-gear pivoted to contact a snail and regulate the number of hammer blows in a striking clock or repeater watch

9. : a support with springs to offset vibration on which the camera and the subject are fastened in process photography ; also : a support for holding several films or plates during processing

10. : a pair of antlers

11. : a wooden triangular frame used to set up the balls for the opening shot in pool games ; also : the balls as set up when the triangle has been removed

- at rack and manger

- on the rack

- to rack and manger

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: partly from Middle English rakken, probably from Middle Dutch recken to stretch (akin to Old English reccan to stretch); partly from rack (III)

transitive verb

1. : to torture on the rack : inflict pain or punishment by pulling or straining


a. : to afflict with torture, pain, or anguish comparable to that suffered on a rack

her heart went out to this racked girl — Adria Langley

racked with jealousy

b. : to afflict and agitate very much with or as if with trouble, stress, anxiety, doubt, unpleasant emotion, or illness

the Greco-Roman world had been racked by revolutions — A.J.Toynbee

was obviously racking his brains as his answer … disclosed — Robert Grant †1940


a. : to stretch, strain, or extend violently

b. : to twist the meaning of : pervert the sense of

c. : to raise (rents) oppressively

d. : to harass or oppress with high rents, exactions, or extortions

4. chiefly Britain

a. : to supply a rack with feed for (as a horse) — used with up

b. : to fasten (an animal) in place at the rack

5. : to work, stretch, or treat (material) on a rack

rack leather

rack rubber

rack ore

6. : to work by a rack and pinion or worm so as to extend or contract

rack a camera

7. : to seize (as parallel ropes of a tackle) together so as to prevent running through the block

8. : to place (as pool balls) in a rack — often used with up

intransitive verb


a. : to become forced out of shape or out of plumb

b. : to sway together from side to side of their proper position relative to the keel — used of a ship's sides

2. Scotland : to undergo straining or stretching : lengthen or give under tension

Synonyms: see afflict

V. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English rakken from Old Provençal arraca, from raca stems and husks of grapes after pressing

1. : to draw off (as wine) from the lees or sediment into new casks — used often with off

2. : to fill (trade casks) with ale or stout

VI. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: probably alteration of rock (I)

of a horse : to use either gait called a rack

VII. noun

( -s )

: either of two gaits of a horse:

a. : pace 5b

b. : a fast showy usually artificial four-beat gait in which the feet leave the ground in the same sequence as in the walk but faster and with higher action — called also single-foot

VIII. noun

( -s )

Etymology: perhaps from rack (III)


a. : the neck and spine of a forequarter of veal, pork, or especially mutton

b. : the rib section of a foresaddle of lamb used for chops and roasts — see hotel rack; lamb illustration

2. : the side planking or side buffer of a ferry slip

3. : rackabones


variant of wrack

X. noun

( -s )

Etymology: by shortening

: arrack

XI. noun

( -s )

Etymology: perhaps alteration of rake (IV)

dialect : the path or track made by a moving object or animal

- by rack of eye


dialect Britain

variant of reck

XIII. noun

( -s )

Etymology: origin unknown

: a nearly full-grown young rabbit ; also : its skin

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.