Sense: 1-3,5-7
Date: 1300-1400
Language: Middle Dutch
Origin: rec 'frame'
Sense: 4
Origin: Old English wræc 'unhappiness, punishment'


1 noun
rack1 [countable]
1DT a frame or shelf that has bars or hooks on which you can put things:
a wine rack
a magazine rack
luggage rack, roof-rack

the rack

SHSC a piece of equipment that was used in the past to make people suffer severe pain by stretching their bodies:
Thousands of people were tortured on the rack.

on the rack

British English informal in a very difficult situation:
The company is now well and truly on the rack.

go to rack and ruin

if a building goes to rack and ruin, it gradually gets into a very bad condition because no one has looked after it:
The house had been left to go to rack and ruin.
5 American English a three-sided frame used for arranging the balls at the start of a game of snooker or pool

a rack of lamb/pork

DFF a fairly large piece of meat from the side of an animal, that contains several rib bones

off the rack

American English if you can buy something off the rack, you can buy it in a shop rather than having it specially made [= off the peg British English]
A lot of designer clothes are now available off the rack.

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