Definition of rank and file in English:

rank and file

noun

the rank and file
  • [treated as plural] The ordinary members of an organization as opposed to its leaders:

    ‘the rank and file of the Labour Party’
    [as modifier] ‘rank-and-file members’
    • ‘The rank-and-file member who's not inside the leadership is dependent on those leaders to lead.’
    • ‘It is now essential to organise democratic debate among the rank and file to define our demands and our strategy.’
    • ‘Panday has himself stated that this is a matter for the rank and file to decide.’
    • ‘We have to maximise the turnout of ordinary rank and file members on the 19 June protest.’
    • ‘All of that has created a huge vacuum between them and the rank-and-file members.’
    • ‘At ministerial level, it usually does, but among the rank and file, it often does not.’
    • ‘They have a different social position to ordinary rank and file union members.’
    • ‘The pressure not to have a ballot came from the rank and file, not Scargill and the NUM union leadership.’
    • ‘The late and great John Smith and Donald Dewar were both in the rank and file.’
    • ‘Most people in the church are rank-and-file members who do little more than attend worship services.’
    • ‘It remains to be seen whether the Institute's rank-and-file members support the policy.’
    • ‘Until now I have discussed evangelical leaders rather than rank-and-file members.’
    • ‘As a result, those who occupy these roles may garner more support than rank-and-file church members.’
    • ‘It cannot be said with certainty that such political moves benefited the rank and file.’
    • ‘And he's now basically a rank-and-file member who has a lot of friends and will still have influence.’
    • ‘There is no burning desire by the rank and file members of a party to take part in the selection processes.’
    • ‘Clearly energy must be put into renewing and broadening connections between rank-and-file members.’
    • ‘He was widely loathed by rank-and-file members of the fire department.’
    • ‘Both have advisory boards, individual donors and websites, but no rank-and-file members.’
    • ‘Since then, Johnston has been a rank-and-file member and is still active in the union as a shop steward.’
    ordinary members
    other ranks, soldiers and ncos, lower ranks
    View synonyms

Origin

Referring to the ‘ranks’ and ‘files’ into which privates and non-commissioned officers form on parade.

Pronunciation

rank and file