rack 1 (răk)
a. A framework or stand in or on which to hold, hang, or display various articles: a trophy rack; a rack for baseball bats in the dugout; a drying rack for laundry.
b. Games A triangular frame for arranging billiard or pool balls at the start of a game.
c. A receptacle for livestock feed.
d. A frame for holding bombs in an aircraft.
a. A bunk or bed.
b. Sleep: tried to get some rack.
3. A toothed bar that meshes with a gearwheel, pinion, or other toothed machine part.
a. A state of intense anguish.
b. A cause of intense anguish.
5. An instrument of torture on which the victim's body was stretched.
6. A pair of antlers.
7. Vulgar Slang A woman's breasts.
tr.v. racked, rack·ing, racksPhrasal Verbs:
1. To place (billiard balls, for example) in a rack.
2. also wrack To cause great physical or mental suffering to: Pain racked his entire body. See Synonyms at afflict.
3. To torture by means of the rack.
rack out Slang
To go to sleep or get some sleep.
rack up InformalIdioms:
To accumulate or score: rack up points.
off the rack
Ready-made. Used of clothing.
on the rack
Under great stress.
rack (one's) brains/brain
To try hard to remember or think of something.
[Middle English rakke, probably from Middle Dutch rec, framework; see reg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.