Main definitions of rack in English

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack1

noun

  • 1A framework, typically with rails, bars, hooks, or pegs, for holding or storing things.

    ‘a spice rack’
    ‘a letter rack’
    • ‘Books were sold mostly on wire racks in drug stores and supermarkets.’
    • ‘Thus, north of Kota Bharu, we turned off the main road into a fishing community where the larger freshly landed fish were cleaned and put out to dry on acres of bamboo racks.’
    • ‘For years characters like these ruled corner store comic racks across North America, earning a loyal fan base and selling hundreds of thousands of copies each month.’
    • ‘Some useful household articles such as letter racks, trays and wooden ladles are also on display.’
    • ‘Today, the rack is full of magazines on every fitness subject and activity.’
    • ‘The mouse was almost as scared of me as I was of it (it could never have been as scared) and ran for cover under a spice rack.’
    • ‘Tops that look like kurtas hang on the racks in departmental stores in the hip Soho neighborhood of Manhattan.’
    • ‘Seen on the glossy racks of a record store it's genuinely shocking.’
    • ‘And if you buy a spice rack with containers, make sure they're what you want.’
    • ‘This autumn you will have to wade through Harris Tweed fashion features in the top style magazines and on the racks of the most expensive designer stores.’
    • ‘I also bought three of these spice racks, which stack into one tower that takes up a lot less space in my tiny apartment.’
    • ‘Perhaps it's best to visit when you need to restock your wine rack.’
    • ‘And if you prefer to send cards the slow way, many stores have racks of red valentine cards on offer in their stationery department.’
    • ‘It's encased in clear plastic as if it has just been pulled from the rack at a drug store.’
    • ‘Plenty of magazines line the racks in the grocery stores.’
    • ‘Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.’
    • ‘They walked around the store and found a rack of clothes.’
    • ‘She takes me across to one of the dried food stores where, in racks of jars behind the counter, are birds' nests waiting for their moment in soup.’
    • ‘Knowing your store has a magazine rack with a fresh selection of popular titles gives your customers yet another reason to stop by.’
    • ‘Before you buy the clothes off the racks at the store, someone decides to put them there.’
    framework, frame, stand, holder, shelf, form, trestle, support, bin, box, bunker, container, structure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A stack of digital effects units for a guitar or other instrument.
      • ‘His Canadian tour consisted of the man himself, two racks of MIDI-controlled effects and a few old Macs running wireframe screensavers for the light show.’
      • ‘Will Sergeant, head and hair down, concentrates on his guitar in his little corner behind a rack of effects.’
      • ‘There were none of the backing tapes, racks of digital effects and other complex electronic gadgetry of which Tony is so fond.’
      • ‘Glenn Jones totes a collection of obscure vintage guitars behind a huge rack of FX units seemingly fashioned from some drawers and a Zimmer frame.’
      • ‘‘Where is the Line’ is a mishmash of ideas, sounding like a fight between a choir and a rack of effects boxes, with neither winning.’
    2. 1.2A vertically barred frame for holding animal fodder.
      ‘a hay rack’
      • ‘Stalls should be equipped with a rack for hay, a trough or box for grain, and a water pail holder.’
      • ‘It's been done out rather stylishly, but still feels rustic, with original limewashed stone walls, and the stalls and hay rack are still there.’
      • ‘We found that placing a bale rack inside the tank keeps cows and calves out of the tank.’
  • 2A cogged or toothed bar or rail engaging with a wheel or pinion, or using pegs to adjust the position of something.

    ‘a steering rack’
    • ‘Engines had a cogged pinion wheel that engaged the rack, helping them climb the slopes.’
    • ‘The fast steering rack is much appreciated here with only minute adjustments required to keep the car steady rather than sawing at the wheel.’
    • ‘Changes and improvements have also been made to the steering, which gets a quicker rack and revised power assistance pump.’
    • ‘The steering rack on a car without power steering has just two pieces: the rack and the pinion gear.’
    • ‘The quicker and more sensitive steering rack makes has a major plus side, though: racecar-sharp turn-in.’
    • ‘We now find, after only 29,000 miles, one suspension strut was loose in its housing and the steering rack is shot and needs replacing.’
    • ‘Oversized ventilated discs in all four corners and an aluminum steering rack ensure precise handling and braking.’
    • ‘Coupling rods from this main axle also provide power to the two pairs of carrying wheels, through which the power is transmitted where the rack is not in use.’
    • ‘Maxima also gets an upgraded steering rack to refine steering feel.’
    • ‘The steering system is lighter and more compact than a steering column and rack and the brakes occupy the same space as a conventional caliper.’
  • 3historical An instrument of torture consisting of a frame on which the victim was stretched by turning rollers to which the wrists and ankles were tied.

    • ‘Confessions were extracted and signed on the rack, and used in the place of truth.’
    • ‘One is not bound to regard torture as only present in a mediaeval dungeon where the appliances of rack and thumbscrew or similar devices were employed.’
    • ‘When we finally emerged from the cave after an eight-hour trip it was as if we had spent the last eight hours on that medieval instrument of torture, the rack.’
  • 4A triangular structure for positioning the balls in pool.

    • ‘The balls are gathered in the triangle rack with the black eight-ball in the middle.’
    • ‘Megan put her and Alysha's balls in the racks.’
    1. 4.1A single game of pool.
      • ‘I've seen Don run over 40 racks in nine ball, says Fred Whalen.’
      • ‘If you fail in the first rack of the inning, the inning is over.’
      • ‘Then proceed to run out the rack, finishing with the eight ball.’
      • ‘I ran three racks, missed one ball, and got beat five to four.’
      • ‘I once told a student to shoot twenty racks of balls every day.’
  • 5North American informal A woman's breasts.

    ‘that chick's got a nice rack’
  • 6North American A set of antlers.

    ‘moose have the most impressive racks of all the antlered animals’
    • ‘Such skulls, with their enormous racks of antlers, adorn the walls of castles and hunting lodges throughout Ireland.’
    • ‘If we clone deer at all, rather than their racks, we should select animals for duplication based on their ability to get through a rough winter or survive a drought.’
    • ‘Bulls and cows in the Tsaatan herd grow velvety racks of antlers.’
    • ‘As we departed, the family's teenage son rode up on a reindeer, its fuzzy rack of antlers almost bigger than he.’
    • ‘An adjoining room is littered with mementos of more recent island history: a rack of antlers, a rusty plow, and an old dentist's chair.’
    • ‘One summer morning a rack of antlers was visible in the distant meadow where the night before a pack of 14 wolves had taken down a bull elk.’
  • 7North American informal A bed.

    • ‘One morning during a heavy rain we shoved our racks to the bulkheads and turned our barracks into a mini-drill-field and practiced close order drill.’
    • ‘They ‘hot-bunk’ - sharing the use of a rack with a shipmate working an alternate watch.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Cause extreme pain, anguish, or distress to.

    ‘he was racked with guilt’
    • ‘He is wracked by fear and exhibits signs of having been tortured.’
    • ‘In a city racked by violence for a week, there was yet another shootout on Sunday.’
    • ‘Then he tells me that he is racked by self-doubt and is never satisfied with the interviews he has conducted.’
    • ‘She is racked by irrational guilt that she survived and Hassan did not.’
    • ‘I was wracked by conflicting feelings this Tuesday.’
    • ‘He felt helpless as he watched her fight against the pain that was racking her body.’
    • ‘The anguish that she felt came pouring out and she cried, shuddering as the sobs wracked her body.’
    • ‘Of course, now that I'm here, I'm suddenly wracked with uncertainty.’
    • ‘I was racked with convulsions as I tried to muffle the incessant hacking by stuffing my scarf in my mouth.’
    • ‘You're wracked now because you cannot make amends.’
    • ‘But all the authorities are agreed that the worst aspects of crucifixion were the raging thirst and the excruciating cramps that racked the victim till he died.’
    • ‘In the seventies we were racked with economic problems like huge inflation and double-digit unemployment.’
    • ‘He blinked as pain wracked his body and paralyzed him momentarily.’
    • ‘The very instant he touched it, his whole body was wracked by pain.’
    • ‘We only have about 5 weeks now until you come home and already I am racked with both apprehension and happiness.’
    • ‘His fight continues, even when the dreaded disease racks him.’
    • ‘Back home he is racked by paranoia, loneliness and inextinguishable desire for Simone.’
    • ‘By 9.30 I was kneeling beside the phone and the pains were now bringing tears to my eyes but bizarrely I was still racked with doubt.’
    • ‘I must admit that the week before we left I was wracked by anxiety over the idea of crossing the ocean, but in fact, once we were under way it was fine.’
    • ‘All of the way home I was racked with curiosity - What was in the briefcase?’
    torment, afflict, torture, pain, agonize, cause agony to, cause pain to, cause suffering to, harrow, pierce, stab, wound, crucify
    plague, bedevil, persecute, harass, distress, trouble, worry
    convulse
    rend
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1historical Torture (someone) on the rack.
      • ‘He also was into voyeurism and bondage, it seems, and liked nothing more than to watch naked men being racked and tortured in the dungeons.’
  • 2 Place in or on a rack.

    ‘the shoes were racked neatly beneath the dresses’
    • ‘On Wednesday, cues were racked up for the last time at Metropool on the Lower Main.’
    • ‘She racked the mike and went back to where Riley lay pale and still on the wet tarmac.’
    • ‘At that point, rack the sled and move on to the next exercise.’
    • ‘But here, the storage space is maximised with a built in rail and an ingenious shoe racking system.’
    • ‘Hey, I have a record out, too, and they rack it in the same rack.’
    • ‘Consequently, there is a need to consider the best ways to move the product, rack it, and package it.’
  • 3Move by a rack and pinion.

  • 4archaic Raise (rent) above a fair or normal amount.

    See also rack rent
    1. 4.1Oppress (a tenant) by exacting excessive rent.

Usage

The relationship between the forms rack and wrack is complicated. The most common noun sense of rack, ‘a framework for holding and storing things’, is always spelled rack, never wrack. In the phrase rack something up the word is also always spelled rack. Figurative senses of the verb, deriving from the type of torture in which someone is stretched on a rack, can, however, be spelled either rack or wrack: thus racked with guilt or wracked with guilt; rack your brains or wrack your brains. In addition, the phrase rack and ruin can also be spelled wrack and ruin

Phrases

  • go to rack (or wrack) and ruin

    • Gradually deteriorate in condition because of neglect; fall into disrepair.

      • ‘The owners of such buildings are obliged by law now to maintain them - they cannot be allowed to go to rack and ruin under any circumstances, and renovation work on these buildings will be constrained to some extent for obvious reasons.’
      • ‘I don't understand how anyone can afford to let a house go to rack and ruin.’
      • ‘He said: ‘They have let the park go to rack and ruin.’’
      • ‘Over the last decade, it has gone to rack and ruin and is now a haunt for bikers and four-wheel-drive vehicles.’
      • ‘It went to rack and ruin 200 years later, but has now been carefully restored.’
      • ‘Old people think the world is going to wrack and ruin, the young are optimistic.’
      • ‘At the time I was thinking I have to stop this self - indulgent idea of being a writer because my life is going to wrack and ruin and I can't afford it.’
      • ‘We are told about a man whose life went to wrack and ruin because of his gambling.’
      • ‘There is nothing around here for the youngsters to do, everything has been allowed to go to rack and ruin.’
      • ‘Neither of them won in the summer, so does that mean they're now going to go to rack and ruin?’
  • off the rack

    • North American term for off the peg (see peg)
      • ‘Like me, they buy their clothes off the rack.’
      • ‘I can buy clothes off the rack.’
      • ‘They were sophisticated, not the kind of ones you buy off the rack.’
      • ‘Don't get yourself depressed searching for items of clothing that will fit you perfectly off the rack.’
      • ‘Her wedding dress, bought two days before her marriage, was off the rack.’
      • ‘I found out that if I ever was to dress like a woman, I would not be buying off the rack.’
      • ‘The dress was bought off the rack as a late addition to her wardrobe.’
      • ‘If off the rack, where were they purchased and for how much?’
      • ‘Nothing you buy off the rack will ever look as good on you as something made for you.’
      • ‘Rosen, no slouch himself, has clothes made for him in Italy and buys off the rack, as well.’
  • on the rack

    • Suffering intense distress or strain.

      under pressure, under stress, under a strain, in distress
      suffering, going through torture, in agony, in pain, racked with pain
      in trouble, in difficulties, having problems
      View synonyms
  • rack (or wrack) one's brains (or brain)

    • Make a great effort to think of or remember something.

      ‘Meg racked her brain for inspiration’
      • ‘She racked her brain to remember if she had met anyone with that name.’
      • ‘Quite frankly, I had to rack my brains to remember my first kiss.’
      • ‘I racked my brains but, oddly enough, I couldn't remember a single one.’
      • ‘I'm racking my brains as best I can but I can't remember any meetings.’
      • ‘You're wracking your brains to try and remember Alan's wonderful effort now, aren't you?’
      • ‘But eventually the day was at an end… and I had to rack my brains to remember where the car was.’
      • ‘He racked his brain, trying to remember, but couldn't.’
      • ‘I was wracking my brain this morning to remember his name.’
      • ‘I walk towards him, wracking my brains to remember how I know him, or at the very least, a name.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, a lot of the details dissolved from my memory as soon as I got up, and I've been wracking my brain trying to remember exactly what was going on.’
      think hard, put one's mind to something, give much thought to something, concentrate, try to remember, puzzle over something, cudgel one's brains, furrow one's brow
      scratch one's head
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • rack something up

    • Accumulate or achieve something, typically a score or amount.

      ‘Japan is racking up record trade surpluses with the United States’
      • ‘And he's racked up a record of 19-0, making him the local star.’
      • ‘We spent months racking up the phone bills, sending each other surprise packages and sentimental handwritten letters.’
      • ‘He racked up a hefty debt in the process - more than $12,000.’
      • ‘Labour MSPs have not been shy about racking up large taxi bills on the public purse.’
      • ‘They racked up more points in the new year then any other club, he says.’
      • ‘And when Sligo started to rack up some late scores, these fears again seemed justified.’
      • ‘Even so, the company has already racked up annual sales of more than $5 million.’
      • ‘But just in his first term he's racked up about two-thirds that much money in new debt.’
      • ‘In fact, there's more opportunity than ever for your company to rack up record sales.’
      achieve, attain, accomplish, gain, earn, win, succeed in making, reach, make, get, obtain
      accumulate, amass
      score, tally, record, register, log
      chalk up, clock up, knock up, notch up, turn in, bag
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Middle Dutch rec, Middle Low German rek horizontal bar or shelf, probably from recken to stretch, reach (possibly the source of rack).

Pronunciation:

rack

/rak/

Main definitions of rack in English

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack2

noun

  • A horse's gait in which both hoofs on either side in turn are lifted almost simultaneously, and all four hoofs are off the ground together at certain moments.

verb

  • 1[no object, with adverbial of direction] (of a horse) move with a rack gait.

  • 2Australian informal [no object, in imperative] Go away.

    ‘‘Rack off mate, or you're going to cop it,’ he bellowed’
    • ‘The class was laughing hysterically and Bree whirled around and yelled at them to rack off.’
    • ‘She of course has no memory whatsoever of the entire incident, and tells him to rack off.’

Origin

Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

rack

/rak/

Main definitions of rack in English

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack3

noun

  • A joint of meat, typically lamb, that includes the front ribs.

    • ‘With racks of lamb at superb value, as always, you should get one, cut out the individual chops, coat them with honey and mustard and pop them on the barbecue.’
    • ‘Nothing on the list of entrées cracks the $18 mark, despite the presence of sirloin steak, rack of lamb, trout, and salmon dishes.’
    • ‘One butcher I spoke to said that you simply could not trim a loin of pork like a rack of lamb.’
    • ‘The oven-roasted rack of lamb, basted with butter and meat juice during the cooking process, was tender, juicy and firm, and served on a bed of sautéd beans.’
    • ‘The rack of lamb, which I had at a subsequent visit, was four reasonable cutlets, again pink and tender, with a pleasant flavour imparted by the honey and mustard crust.’
    • ‘The rack of lamb was crusted with bay leaf and paprika, and expertly sliced at the table in the classic Continental style.’
    • ‘Try the mouth-watering rack of lamb with Yorkshire pudding and rosemary jus - superb food in a superb country.’
    • ‘A rack of lamb was like the best sort of outdoor barbecue, rosy, tender with deliciously charred bits that had to be gnawed off the bone.’
    • ‘For dinner parties, people go for racks of lamb or veal rather than a roast.’
    • ‘And delicious as it is, the rack of lamb seems unnervingly out of place on a menu alongside sesame noodles.’
    • ‘If you're cooking for a lot of people, it makes sense to buy a rack of lamb and trim bits off it.’
    • ‘He made a diced bacon, sun-dried tomato and grated Stilton salad, followed by a rack of lamb on a bed of sweet potatoes with roasted vegetables.’
    • ‘Two lamb rib racks, joined, are enough for a table of eight or fewer.’
    • ‘This year sees the addition of an outdoor wood-fired oven in which to cook racks of Sussex lamb and Newhaven lobsters.’
    • ‘The roast beef was a little on the dry side, but the other racks of meat were well prepared.’
    • ‘The most popular item on the menu is the rack of lamb with port and redcurrant sauce.’
    • ‘I've always thought a rack of lamb was the most romantic of meals.’
    • ‘The food was excellent, and I highly recommend the rack of lamb if it is on the menu.’
    • ‘Mutton chops are still on the top of the menu, followed by broiled filet mignon, rack of lamb and a thick, crusty veal chop smothered in wild mushrooms.’
    • ‘My rack of lamb was baked to perfection and nestled on a bed of peppered savoy and sliced potatoes, augmented by a delicious rosemary and orange jus.’

Origin

Late 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

rack

/rak/

Main definitions of rack in English

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack4

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Draw off (wine, beer, etc.) from the sediment in the barrel.

    ‘the wine is racked off into large oak casks’
    • ‘The white is then scooped off the top and the wine racked or poured into a clean barrel.’
    • ‘After, and increasingly before, malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked into barrels made of French oak, often Limousin with the typical Bordeaux barrel being called a barrique.’
    • ‘All three firms also sell wine refrigeration units and racking systems, which they ship all over the country.’
    • ‘The firm has demolished an old loading bay and store in preparation for a building to house four fermenting vessels and a barrel racking system.’
    • ‘The trick is to crush the grapes gently, then in short order, rack the juice off to a fermentation tank.’
    • ‘The barrels are topped up every week and racked every three months.’

Origin

Late 15th century: from Provençal arracar, from raca stems and husks of grapes, dregs.

Pronunciation:

rack

/rak/

Main definitions of rack in English

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack5

noun

  • variant spelling of wrack

verb

[NO OBJECT]Archaic
  • (of a cloud) be driven before the wind.

    ‘a thin shred of cloud racking across the moon’

Origin

Middle English (denoting a rush or collision): probably of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian and Swedish dialect rak wreckage, from reka to drive.

Pronunciation:

rack

/rak/