1 level of importance
high, senior, superior, top, upper
inferior, junior, low

the lowest ranks of the army

first, second

He is in the first rank of designers.

Cabinet, ministerial (BrE)

a politician of Cabinet rank

achieve, attain, be promoted to, get to, reach, rise to

She joined the navy, where she rose to the rank of captain.

have, hold

He held officer rank in the air force for many years.

assign sb, award sb

He was assigned the rank of Commander.

be stripped of

He was stripped of his rank by a military court.

above a/the rank

He never rose above the rank of lieutenant.

below a/the rank

police officers below the rank of sergeant

in rank

He is higher in rank than I am.

rank in

all ranks in society

rank of

She reached the rank of captain.

of high, low, etc. rank

officers of senior rank

2 group of things/people
front, rear

a poet who belongs in the front rank of Latin American literature (figurative)

massed, serried (both esp. BrE)

the serried ranks of hotel staff

along a/the rank

The president moved slowly along the ranks of men.

in a/the rank

He was standing in the second rank.

The soldiers marched in three ranks of ten.

break ranks (= to leave a line of soldiers, police, etc.)

The police broke ranks and started hitting people with their batons.

He broke ranks with his fellow Republicans and opposed the war. (figurative)

close ranks (figurative)

When the establishment is attacked, it closes ranks.

(= unites to protect itself)
rank upon rank (of sth)

Rank upon rank of caravans filled the field.

3 ranks members of a large group
growing, swelling

These products appeal to the growing ranks of middle-class consumers.

amateur, pro (AmE), professional (all sports)

He spent two years on the college golf team before joining the professional ranks.

enter, fill, join, swell

More women are now filling the ranks of the medical profession.

Each month thousands more swell the ranks of the unemployed.

be admitted into, be admitted to

A CIA operative had infiltrated their ranks.

deplete, thin

Death and disease were thinning their ranks.

serve in

They had served in the ranks of the army.

climb, come up from, come up through, rise from, rise through

He came up through the ranks to become a general.

among the ranks of, within the ranks of

There is much disaffection among the ranks of the party.

beyond the ranks, outside the ranks

The group has little influence over those outside its own ranks.

in the ranks

There are few women in the highest ranks of the organization.

the rank and file

Communication worked well at management level, but didn't always make it down to the rank and file.

NOTE: Ranks in the armed forces
an air force … , an army … , a navy … 

an air force/an army sergeant

an army/a navy captain

air marshal, field marshal (both in the UK), a naval captain/commander/lieutenant/officer

a handsome young naval officer

have/hold the rank of … , serve as … 

She joined the navy and held the rank of captain.

He served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

be appointed … , become … , be made … 

He became a colonel at the age of 40.

She ought to have been made sergeant by now.

under … 

383 men under General Miles attacked the camp.

the rank of … 

She was promoted to the rank of colonel.

high, highly, low

These subjects ranked low for most students.

high-ranking officials


She ranks above any other musician of her generation.

ahead of

The dandelion ranks ahead of both broccoli and spinach in nutritional value.


This city ranks alongside London as one of the great tourist attractions of the world.


He ranks among the greatest boxers of all time.


Their performance ranks as the best of the year.


This ranks with the great paintings of the 19th century.

according to, by

The children were ranked according to academic ability.

be nationally ranked (AmE)

We beat a nationally ranked team.

be ranked number two, three, etc., rank number two, three, etc., rank second, third, etc.

the tennis player ranked number two in the world

The company ranks second among food manufacturers.

rank sth in order of sth

ranked in order of size

rank in the top 10, 100, etc.

She is now ranked in the top five hockey players in Britain.

Rank is used with these nouns as the object: ↑site
Rank is used with these nouns: ↑amateur, ↑incompetence, ↑outsider, ↑smell

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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