Definition of Rank and file

1. Noun. The ordinary members of an organization (such as the enlisted soldiers of an army). "He rose from the ranks to become a colonel"

Exact synonyms: Rank
Category relationships: Armed Forces, Armed Services, Military, Military Machine, War Machine
Generic synonyms: Force, Personnel
Member holonyms: Enlisted Man

2. Noun. People who constitute the main body of any group.
Generic synonyms: People

Definition of Rank and file

1. Noun. Common soldiers, as would be arrayed in a grid pattern with ranks and files. ¹

2. Noun. (idiomatic) Those lacking any particular title or status; those having no station. ¹

¹ Source:

Lexicographical Neighbors of Rank And File

ranine artery
ranine tumour
rank-difference correlation
rank-difference correlation coefficient
rank-order correlation
rank-order correlation coefficient
rank and file (current term)
rank and yank
rank order

Literary usage of Rank and file

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Gentleman's Magazine (1815)
"2 Serjeants, 1 drummer, 30 rank and file. 38 horses, missing. Total of British Loss on the 18M u/l.—2 general staff, 1 colonel, 3 lieut. colonels, 6 majors, ..."

2. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781 by Henry Phelps Johnston (1881)
"Light Infantry: 1 lieutenant, 3 sergeants, 24 rank and file, killed; 3 lieutenants, 2 sergeants, 1 drummer, 51 rank and file, wounded. ..."

3. The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries by John Austin Stevens, Benjamin Franklin DeCosta, Henry Phelps Johnston, Martha Joanna Lamb, Nathan Gillett Pond, William Abbatt (1881)
"Artillery, a captains, 9 lieutenants, i surgeon, i mate, i sergeant, 4 drums, 193 rank and file, i commissary of military stores, 9 conductors, ..."

4. The Annual Register edited by Edmund Burke (1825)
"14th Foot—i rank and file killed; 2 rank and file, wounded. 33rd Foot—i lieutenant-col., ... Three of the rank and file maning, supposed to be killed. ..."

5. The Monthly Magazine by Benjamin Franklin Collection (Library of Congress), Richard Phillips (1813)
"1 major, 2 captains, 3 ensigns, 4 Serjeants, 157 rank and file, ... 1 rank and file, killed ; 1 ensign, 1 serjeant, 1 drummer, 5 rank and file, wounded. ..."

6. The Annual Register, Or, A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for by Edmund Burke (1815)
"Portuguese—i drummer, 5 rank and file, killed ; i lient.-colonel, i lieutenant, 2 ensigns, 4 Serjeants, i drummer, 25 rank and file, wounded; 3 rank and ..."

7. The American Quarterly Review by Robert Walsh (1835)
"Royal Marines, 2d Battalion, 4 rank and file killed, 10 rank and file ... 3d Battalion, 2 rank and file killed, 1 sergeant, 9 rank and file wounded. ..."

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