Definition of ranch in English:



  • 1A large farm, especially in North America or Australia, where cattle or other animals are bred.

    ‘a beef cattle ranch’
    ‘fur ranches for silver fox and mink’
    • ‘Cattle ranches dominate the economy and the language spoken is just as likely to be Portuguese as English.’
    • ‘And he made a good living from it, visiting ranches, branding the cattle.’
    • ‘All these attributes make alfalfa a highly desirable crop for many farms and ranches.’
    • ‘All 50 states have beef cattle and 30 states each have at least 10,000 cattle farms and ranches.’
    • ‘Later, he would join them riding, roping and wrangling cattle on the ranch.’
    • ‘On the ranch or feed lot, this may not be all that difficult, particularly in smaller herds.’
    • ‘Many Afro-Brazilians work as field hands on ranches and large plantations.’
    • ‘A herd of Texas Longhorn cattle will adorn the ranch.’
    • ‘Small ranchers in northern New Mexico pay to graze 1 to 25 cattle per ranch in this oasis all summer.’
    • ‘Here's some footage of my wife, Nellie, taken at a recent cattle sale at our ranch.’
    • ‘Musk thistle, one of Nebraska's seven noxious weeds, is widespread and reduces agricultural production on farms and ranches.’
    • ‘The decline in farms and ranches occurred primarily in agricultural operations with less than $10,000 in sales.’
    • ‘On January 1, California's new tougher standards for those convicted of trespassing on farms and ranches went into effect.’
    • ‘Franciscan missionaries established an extensive chain of missions, Spanish entrepreneurs established ranches and farms.’
    • ‘ARS is working with Audubon California on restoration projects on farms and ranches.’
    • ‘Most have moved tremendous numbers of cattle from one ranch to another rather than selling off herds for slaughter.’
    • ‘The wolf was trapped and killed because it epitomized the wilderness that settlers sought to tame and replace with farms and ranches.’
    • ‘Most of them are being raised like cattle on big ranches to provide beef for buffalo burgers.’
    • ‘There is a low population density, with the majority of people living on farms and ranches in rural settings.’
    • ‘Eyes brightening, Adam envisioned the relief and joy on his father's face when he arrived back at the ranch with the missing cattle in tow.’
    smallholding, holding, farmstead, steading, grange, plantation, estate
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    1. 1.1North American A single-storey house.
      • ‘Back home at the ranch house a full day of intermittent showers has washed the dust out of the air and made everything clean and sparkling again.’
      • ‘At the old ranch house where Mama grew up the radio sat in the front room near the fireplace.’
      • ‘The young singer was able to buy his parents a comfortable ranch house in Memphis - the first nice house the little family had ever owned.’
      • ‘Killaloe in Co Clare is the rather unusual setting for an American-style ranch house, albeit one built of bricks and mortar rather than timber.’
      • ‘As peace settled on the old ranch house with the departure of the builders in the early evening, Harry and Dolly and me spent the last hour of daylight outside, sighing with relief.’
      • ‘He waved to Jacob's mother who was standing on the ranch house's porch.’
      • ‘The first house that I had a mortgage for was a ranch house in Edison, New Jersey.’
      • ‘Leaving his rambling ranch house in fashionable North Dallas, he drove his Jaguar to his psychiatric offices.’
      • ‘Another couple asked Holton to evaluate their 1950s ranch house for the possibility of adding a home office.’
      • ‘Dusty Miller squinted to see the ranch house in the valley below.’
      • ‘He was looking forward to getting home to the warm comfort of the ranch house and getting something good to eat from Hop Sing's kitchen.’
      • ‘Trek sunk back into his lonely, dark state quickly as they walked up the porch and knocked on the front door of a ranch house.’
      • ‘I suddenly was struck by how much his ranch house contrasted to my dingy apartment.’
      • ‘I heard the distant chime of the bell up at the ranch house, and we both knew it was time to head in.’
      • ‘At the sight of the ranch house, he sighs with relief and leaves his tired horse at the edge of the porch.’
      • ‘As she approached the ranch house, a little boy about two years old came running out of the house going as fast as his little legs could carry him.’
      • ‘His home is a simple ranch house with sheets for curtains and an unattractive brown lawn.’
      • ‘He beckoned her to follow him out to the front porch of the old ranch house where he pointed to a buck grazing in the field across the dirt road.’
      • ‘Both the tiny cottage in remote Wales and the old ranch house in Somerset were daunting projects, requiring extensive and complete make-over.’
      • ‘The postman is used to delivering mysterious parcels, packets and letters to the old ranch house, mostly from faraway places with strange sounding names.’
  • 2North American trademark in UK mass noun A type of thick white salad dressing made with sour cream.

    • ‘First, there was the school cook who congratulated me for eating a diet of iceberg lettuce and watery ranch dressing for an entire week.’
    • ‘For my part, I think I'll try some cheese fries with ranch dressing.’
    • ‘It had cherry tomatoes, garlic croutons, and ranch dressing, and was quite tasty.’
    • ‘I try not to get into them too often, but what I will nibble on are pretzels dipped in ranch dressing.’
    • ‘I ordered a double cheeseburger (no mustard) with French fries and a side salad with ranch dressing.’
    • ‘My wings have been seasoned with barbecue sauce and served with a side of ranch dressing and celery at some bar and grill in New York City.’
    • ‘The restaurant's ranch dressing has a bright, tart tang that turned the tomatoes into a roadhouse classic.’
    • ‘A package of ranch dressing or dill dressing will make your average mashed potatoes more exciting.’
    • ‘They have individual little snack-size packs of ranch dressing now.’
    • ‘So fill in by serving baby carrots or sliced red or green peppers or cucumbers with light ranch dressing.’
    • ‘She sat across from the little girl at her kitchen table with a large plate of freshly chopped rainbow peppers sitting between them and ranch dressing to dip them in.’
    • ‘I'd use Italian dressing because you need less Italian to spread over your salad compared to ranch dressing.’
    • ‘Include bell pepper slices or baby carrots with ranch dressing or spaghetti sauce for dunking.’
    • ‘I'll have the deluxe salad with ranch dressing.’
    • ‘I skip the butter and sour cream and opt for broccoli or lowfat or nonfat ranch dressing.’
    • ‘No wonder people have to slather their salads in ranch dressing.’
    • ‘Cut up crisp vegetable sticks with dipping sauce - ranch, peanut, sweet chili or tomato.’
    • ‘Nacho chips with salsa and vegetables with ranch dressing are served on top of rectangular tables.’
    • ‘Finally, avoid dipping sauces such as ranch or blue-cheese dressing.’
    • ‘Vanessa's attention was engulfed by the sports game, and she seemed to have shut the whole world out as she munched on carrot sticks and ranch dressing.’


[no object]often as noun ranching
  • 1Run a ranch.

    ‘cattle ranching’
    • ‘But the truth is that Teddy Roosevelt's old stomping ground is in trouble - threatened by both cattle ranching and oil drilling.’
    • ‘Throughout the nineteenth century, England was the largest investor in American land development, railroads, mining, cattle ranching, and heavy industry.’
    • ‘A 1997 study of endangered species in the southwestern United States by the Fish and Wildlife Service found that half the species studied were threatened by cattle ranching.’
    • ‘Jerry Cooney in turn analyzes the Paraguayan frontier and how the economy shifted from the exploitation of yerba mate, the Paraguayan tea in the colonial period, to cattle ranching.’
    • ‘In arid regions traditionally used for cattle ranching, farms could be a maximum of 2000 hectares.’
    • ‘In the West, cattle and sheep ranching soon forged the strongest economic link between Scotland and the United States.’
    • ‘Overall, county agricultural land that was once in crops has increasingly shifted to pasture and cattle ranching.’
    • ‘If I hadn't been so good at the family business I would take up cattle ranching.’
    • ‘Many California dude ranches are working cattle ranches that have existed for generations.’
    • ‘Causes of habitat destruction were many and synergistic, involving agricultural practices, cattle ranching, and urban growth.’
    • ‘They pointed out, for example, that the spread of cattle ranching in South America to meet U.S. demands for beef was contributing directly to the destruction of the rain forests.’
    • ‘Sixty percent of the nation's gold is mined here, and the county relies heavily on its natural resources for cattle ranching.’
    • ‘A large part of its economy is dependent on agriculture and cattle ranching.’
    • ‘Environmentalists want Lula to push for jobs in areas like sustainable forestry and tourism rather than cattle ranching and soy farming.’
    • ‘This in turn has served to fuel hostility from those whose survival depends on lowland pastures and has affected cattle ranching and tourism in wildlife reserves.’
    • ‘Cattle ranching, however, has become more important to them and many Sioux derive some economic benefit from the cattle industry.’
    • ‘Because I love horses and cattle and ranching, I also helped outside all I could, and loved it.’
    • ‘She makes a living applying animal psychology research to fields like cattle ranching.’
    • ‘The history of cattle ranching in what is today the Municipio of Alamos began with the discovery of rich silver deposits in 1683.’
    • ‘Mr Mubanga, now a businessman and politician does cattle ranching and mixed farming on his 200 hectare farm in Chief Chimese's area in Mansa.’
    1. 1.1often as adjective ranchedwith object Breed (animals) on a ranch.
      ‘ranched salmon’
      • ‘Among the dead, they think, were the many farmers who ranched buffalo on a huge set of interlocking, highly sophisticated farms across the mid-west.’
      • ‘This is the Salmon Research Trust Centre at Burrishoole, where scientists spend their days studying salmon and ranching them.’
      • ‘Farmers fatten livestock for the market so why don't fishermen ranch fish?’
      • ‘Many carnivores, such as mink, seal, fox, and bobcat, have long been hunted or ranched for their fur.’
      • ‘The Epperson's way of pasture ranching horses allows the horses to learn herd behavior and grow up in nature's elements.’
      • ‘Then there's Brother Mesquite from the monastery that ranches bison, and a nice joke about a cowboy who wears clothes all made of brown paper, who gets hanged for rustling.’
    2. 1.2with object Use (land) as a ranch.
      ‘we've ranched this area for almost two decades’
      • ‘The ranch is still the original tract patented to Henry Freisen in 1836 and has been ranched continuously ever since that time.’


Early 19th century: from Spanish rancho ‘group of persons eating together’.