Main definitions of rack in US English:

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack1

noun

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

    ‘a spice rack’
    ‘a magazine rack’
    • ‘Perhaps it's best to visit when you need to restock your wine rack.’
    • ‘Seen on the glossy racks of a record store it's genuinely shocking.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They walked around the store and found a rack of clothes.’
    • ‘It's encased in clear plastic as if it has just been pulled from the rack at a drug store.’
    • ‘And if you buy a spice rack with containers, make sure they're what you want.’
    • ‘And if you prefer to send cards the slow way, many stores have racks of red valentine cards on offer in their stationery department.’
    • ‘Knowing your store has a magazine rack with a fresh selection of popular titles gives your customers yet another reason to stop by.’
    • ‘Books were sold mostly on wire racks in drug stores and supermarkets.’
    • ‘Before you buy the clothes off the racks at the store, someone decides to put them there.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.’
    • ‘I also bought three of these spice racks, which stack into one tower that takes up a lot less space in my tiny apartment.’
    • ‘Today, the rack is full of magazines on every fitness subject and activity.’
    • ‘Plenty of magazines line the racks in the grocery stores.’
    framework, frame, stand, holder, shelf, form, trestle, support, bin, box, bunker, container, structure
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A stack of digital effects units for a guitar or other instrument.
      • ‘Will Sergeant, head and hair down, concentrates on his guitar in his little corner behind a rack of effects.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were none of the backing tapes, racks of digital effects and other complex electronic gadgetry of which Tony is so fond.’
    2. 1.2 A vertically barred frame or wagon 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fast steering rack is much appreciated here with only minute adjustments required to keep the car steady rather than sawing at the wheel.’
    • ‘Oversized ventilated discs in all four corners and an aluminum steering rack ensure precise handling and braking.’
    • ‘Changes and improvements have also been made to the steering, which gets a quicker rack and revised power assistance pump.’
    • ‘The quicker and more sensitive steering rack makes has a major plus side, though: racecar-sharp turn-in.’
    • ‘The steering rack on a car without power steering has just two pieces: the rack and the pinion gear.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3the rackhistorical 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Confessions were extracted and signed on the rack, and used in the place of truth.’
  • 4A triangular structure for positioning the balls in pool.

    Compare with frame (sense 7 of the noun)
    • ‘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. 4.1 A single game of snooker.
      • ‘If you fail in the first rack of the inning, the inning is over.’
      • ‘I ran three racks, missed one ball, and got beat five to four.’
      • ‘I've seen Don run over 40 racks in nine ball, says Fred Whalen.’
      • ‘I once told a student to shoot twenty racks of balls every day.’
      • ‘Then proceed to run out the rack, finishing with the eight ball.’
  • 5North American vulgar slang A woman's breasts.

    ‘Arnie's woman is kinda bossy, but she's got a nice rack’
  • 6North American A set of antlers.

    • ‘Such skulls, with their enormous racks of antlers, adorn the walls of castles and hunting lodges throughout Ireland.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we departed, the family's teenage son rode up on a reindeer, its fuzzy rack of antlers almost bigger than he.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Bulls and cows in the Tsaatan herd grow velvety racks of antlers.’
  • 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 physical or mental pain to; subject to extreme stress.

    ‘he was racked with guilt’
    • ‘Back home he is racked by paranoia, loneliness and inextinguishable desire for Simone.’
    • ‘The very instant he touched it, his whole body was wracked by pain.’
    • ‘The anguish that she felt came pouring out and she cried, shuddering as the sobs wracked her body.’
    • ‘He is wracked by fear and exhibits signs of having been tortured.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a city racked by violence for a week, there was yet another shootout on Sunday.’
    • ‘All of the way home I was racked with curiosity - What was in the briefcase?’
    • ‘Then he tells me that he is racked by self-doubt and is never satisfied with the interviews he has conducted.’
    • ‘I was racked with convulsions as I tried to muffle the incessant hacking by stuffing my scarf in my mouth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She is racked by irrational guilt that she survived and Hassan did not.’
    • ‘In the seventies we were racked with economic problems like huge inflation and double-digit unemployment.’
    • ‘Of course, now that I'm here, I'm suddenly wracked with uncertainty.’
    • ‘He blinked as pain wracked his body and paralyzed him momentarily.’
    • ‘He felt helpless as he watched her fight against the pain that was racking her body.’
    • ‘We only have about 5 weeks now until you come home and already I am racked with both apprehension and happiness.’
    • ‘I was wracked by conflicting feelings this Tuesday.’
    • ‘His fight continues, even when the dreaded disease racks him.’
    • ‘You're wracked now because you cannot make amends.’
    torment, afflict, torture, pain, agonize, cause agony to, cause pain to, cause suffering to, harrow, pierce, stab, wound, crucify
    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.’
  • 2Place in or on a rack.

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

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.’
      • ‘There is nothing around here for the youngsters to do, everything has been allowed to go to rack and ruin.’
      • ‘We are told about a man whose life went to wrack and ruin because of his gambling.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Old people think the world is going to wrack and ruin, the young are optimistic.’
      • ‘He said: ‘They have let the park go to rack and ruin.’’
      • ‘It went to rack and ruin 200 years later, but has now been carefully restored.’
      • ‘Over the last decade, it has gone to rack and ruin and is now a haunt for bikers and four-wheel-drive vehicles.’
      • ‘Neither of them won in the summer, so does that mean they're now going to go to rack and ruin?’
  • off the rack

    • (of clothes) ready-made rather than made to order.

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

    • Suffering intense distress or strain.

      under pressure, under stress, under a strain, in distress
      View synonyms
  • rack (or wrack) one's brains (or brain)

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

      • ‘I'm racking my brains as best I can but I can't remember any meetings.’
      • ‘Quite frankly, I had to rack my brains to remember my first kiss.’
      • ‘But eventually the day was at an end… and I had to rack my brains to remember where the car was.’
      • ‘I racked my brains but, oddly enough, I couldn't remember a single one.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You're wracking your brains to try and remember Alan's wonderful effort now, aren't you?’
      • ‘He racked his brain, trying to remember, but couldn't.’
      • ‘She racked her brain to remember if she had met anyone with that name.’
      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
      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 U.S’
      • ‘Even so, the company has already racked up annual sales of more than $5 million.’
      • ‘Labour MSPs have not been shy about racking up large taxi bills on the public purse.’
      • ‘In fact, there's more opportunity than ever for your company to rack up record sales.’
      • ‘But just in his first term he's racked up about two-thirds that much money in new debt.’
      • ‘He racked up a hefty debt in the process - more than $12,000.’
      • ‘We spent months racking up the phone bills, sending each other surprise packages and sentimental handwritten letters.’
      • ‘And he's racked up a record of 19-0, making him the local star.’
      • ‘And when Sligo started to rack up some late scores, these fears again seemed justified.’
      • ‘They racked up more points in the new year then any other club, he says.’
      achieve, attain, accomplish, gain, earn, win, succeed in making, reach, make, get, obtain
      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 (sense 1 of the verb)).

Pronunciation

rack

/rak//ræk/

Main definitions of rack in US 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

[no object]
  • (of a horse) move with a rack gait.

Origin

Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

rack

/rak//ræk/

Main definitions of rack in US English:

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack3

(also wrack)

noun

  • A mass of high, thick, fast-moving clouds.

    ‘there was a thin moon, a rack of cloud’

Main definitions of rack in US English:

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack4

noun

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

    • ‘For dinner parties, people go for racks of lamb or veal rather than a roast.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And delicious as it is, the rack of lamb seems unnervingly out of place on a menu alongside sesame noodles.’
    • ‘One butcher I spoke to said that you simply could not trim a loin of pork like a rack of lamb.’
    • ‘Two lamb rib racks, joined, are enough for a table of eight or fewer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 roast beef was a little on the dry side, but the other racks of meat were well prepared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This year sees the addition of an outdoor wood-fired oven in which to cook racks of Sussex lamb and Newhaven lobsters.’
    • ‘The food was excellent, and I highly recommend the rack of lamb if it is on the menu.’
    • ‘If you're cooking for a lot of people, it makes sense to buy a rack of lamb and trim bits off it.’
    • ‘Nothing on the list of entrées cracks the $18 mark, despite the presence of sirloin steak, rack of lamb, trout, and salmon dishes.’

verb

archaic
  • no object, with adverbial of direction (of a cloud) be driven before the wind.

Origin

Middle English (denoting a rush or collision): probably of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian and Swedish dialect rak ‘wreckage’, from reka ‘to drive’<br>late 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

rack

/rak//ræk/

Main definitions of rack in US English:

: rack1rack2rack3rack4rack5

rack5

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.’
    • ‘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 barrels are topped up every week and racked every three months.’
    • ‘All three firms also sell wine refrigeration units and racking systems, which they ship all over the country.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The trick is to crush the grapes gently, then in short order, rack the juice off to a fermentation tank.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

rack

/rak//ræk/