WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
rack1 /ræk/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. a framework of bars, pegs, etc., on which things are arranged:a clothes rack; a ski rack.
  2. a fixture containing shelves, often attached to something:a spice rack.
  3. a former instrument of torture on which a victim was slowly stretched.

v. [+ object]
  1. to torture;
    hurt badly;
    cause great pain to:Crippling spasms of pain racked him every few minutes.
  2. to strain or struggle in mental effort:He racked his brains trying to come up with an answer.
  3. Gamesrack up, [+ up + object] to gain, achieve, or score:The new store is racking up profits.

rack2 /ræk/USA pronunciation   n. [uncountable]
  1. wreckage or destruction;
    wrack:to go to rack and ruin.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
rack1  (rak),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited:a clothes rack; a luggage rack.
  2. a fixture containing several tiered shelves, often affixed to a wall:a book rack; a spice rack.
  3. a spreading framework set on a wagon for carrying hay, straw, or the like, in large loads.
  4. Games[Pool.]
    • a wooden frame of triangular shape within which the balls are arranged before play.
    • the balls so arranged:He took aim at the rack.
  5. [Mach.]
    • Mechanical Engineeringa bar, with teeth on one of its sides, adapted to engage with the teeth of a pinion(rack and pinion) or the like, as for converting circular into rectilinear motion or vice versa.
    • Mechanical Engineeringa bar having a series of notches engaging with a pawl or the like.
  6. a former instrument of torture consisting of a framework on which a victim was tied, often spread-eagled, by the wrists and ankles, to be slowly stretched by spreading the parts of the framework.
  7. a cause or state of intense suffering of body or mind.
  8. torment;
  9. violent strain.
  10. Zoologya pair of antlers.
  11. [Slang.]a bed, cot, or bunk:I spent all afternoon in the rack.

  1. to torture;
    distress acutely;
    torment:His body was racked with pain.
  2. to strain in mental effort:to rack one's brains.
  3. to strain by physical force or violence.
  4. to strain beyond what is normal or usual.
  5. to stretch the body of (a person) in torture by means of a rack.
  6. Nautical, Naval Termsto seize (two ropes) together side by side.
  7. rack out, [Slang.]to go to bed;
    go to sleep:I racked out all afternoon.
  8. Gamesrack up: 
    • [Pool.]to put (the balls) in a rack.
    • [Informal.]to tally, accumulate, or amass as an achievement or score:The corporation racked up the greatest profits in its history.
racking•ly, adv. 
  • Middle Dutch rac, rec, recke; compare Middle Low German reck, German Reck
  • Middle English rakke, rekke (noun, nominal) 1250–1300
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged torture, pain, agony, tribulation, ordeal.
    • 12.See corresponding entry in Unabridged See  torment. 

rack2  (rak),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. ruin or destruction;
  2. go to rack and ruin, to decay, decline, or become destroyed:His property went to rack and ruin in his absence.

  1. rack up, [Slang.]to wreck, esp. a vehicle.
  • variant of wrack1 1590–1600

rack3  (rak),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. the fast pace of a horse in which the legs move in lateral pairs but not simultaneously.

  1. (of horses) to move in a rack.
  • perh. variant of rock2 1570–80

rack4  (rak),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. MeteorologyAlso called  cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.

  1. to drive or move, esp. before the wind.
Also,  wrack. 
  • 1350–1400; Middle English rak, reck(e); origin, originally uncertain

rack5  (rak),USA pronunciation v.t. 
  1. Wineto draw off (wine, cider, etc.) from the lees.
  • Old French; compare obsolete French raqué (of wine) pressed from the dregs of grapes
  • late Middle English 1425–75

rack6  (rak),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Foodthe neck portion of mutton, pork, or veal.
  2. Foodthe rib section of a foresaddle of lamb, mutton, or sometimes veal.
  • origin, originally uncertain 1560–70

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
wrack1 /ræk/USA pronunciation   n. [uncountable]
  1. damage or destruction:The empire fell to wrack and ruin.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
wrack1  (rak),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. wreck or wreckage.
  2. damage or destruction:wrack and ruin.
  3. a trace of something destroyed:leaving not a wrack behind.
  4. seaweed or other vegetation cast on the shore.

  1. to wreck:He wracked his car up on the river road.
  • Middle English wrak (noun, nominal), Old English wræc vengeance, misery, akin to wracu vengeance, misery, wrecan to wreak bef. 900

wrack2  (rak),USA pronunciation n., v.i. 
  1. rack4.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

rack /ræk/ n
  1. a framework for holding, carrying, or displaying a specific load or object
  2. a toothed bar designed to engage a pinion to form a mechanism that will interconvert rotary and rectilinear motions
  3. the rackan instrument of torture that stretched the body of the victim
  4. a cause or state of mental or bodily stress, suffering, etc; anguish; torment (esp in the phrase on the rack)
  5. US Canadian (in pool, snooker, etc) the triangular frame used to arrange the balls for the opening shot
  6. the balls so grouped
    Brit equivalent: frame
vb (transitive)
  1. to torture on the rack
  2. Also: wrack to cause great stress or suffering to: guilt racked his conscience
  3. Also: wrack to strain or shake (something) violently, as by great physical force: the storm racked the town
  4. to place or arrange in or on a rack
  5. to move (parts of machinery or a mechanism) using a toothed rack
  6. to raise (rents) exorbitantly; rack-rent
  7. rack one's brainsto strain in mental effort, esp to remember something or to find the solution to a problem
Etymology: 14th Century rekke, probably from Middle Dutch rec framework; related to Old High German recchen to stretch, Old Norse rekja to spread out

ˈracker n
rack /ræk/ n
  1. destruction; wreck (obsolete except in the phrase go to rack and ruin)
Etymology: 16th Century: variant of wrack1
rack /ræk/ n
  1. another word for single-foot, a gait of the horse
Etymology: 16th Century: perhaps based on rock²
rack /ræk/ n
  1. a group of broken clouds moving in the wind
  1. (intransitive) (of clouds) to be blown along by the wind
Etymology: Old English wrǣc what is driven; related to Gothic wraks persecutor, Swedish vrak wreckage
rack /ræk/ vb (transitive)
  1. to clear (wine, beer, etc) as by siphoning it off from the dregs
Etymology: 15th Century: from Old Provençal arraca, from raca dregs of grapes after pressing

wrack, rack /ræk/ n
  1. collapse or destruction (esp in the phrase wrack and ruin)
  2. something destroyed or a remnant of such
  1. a variant spelling of rack1
Etymology: Old English wræc persecution, misery; related to Gothic wraka, Old Norse rāk. Compare wreck, wretch
The use of the spelling wrack rather than rack in sentences such as she was wracked by grief or the country was wracked by civil war is very common but is thought by many people to be incorrect

wrack /ræk/ n
  1. seaweed or other marine vegetation that is floating in the sea or has been cast ashore
  2. any of various seaweeds of the genus Fucus, such as F. serratus (serrated wrack)
  3. literary or dialect a wreck or piece of wreckage
  4. a remnant or fragment of something destroyed
Etymology: 14th Century (in the sense: a wrecked ship, wreckage, hence later applied to marine vegetation washed ashore): perhaps from Middle Dutch wrak wreckage; the term corresponds to Old English wræc wrack1

'rack' also found in these entries:

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