RACK, noun [Eng. to reach. See Reach and Break.]
1. An engine of torture, used for extorting confessions from criminals or suspected persons. The rack is entirely unknown in free countries.
2. Torture; extreme pain; anguish.
A fit of the stone puts a king to the rack and makes him as miserable as it does the meanest subject.
3. Any instrument for stretching or extending any thing; as a rack for bending a bow.
4. A grate on which bacon is laid.
5. A wooden frame of open work in which hay is laid for horses and cattle for feeding.
6. The frame of bones of an animal; a skeleton. We say, a rack of bones.
7. A frame of timber on a ship's bowsprit.
RACK, noun [Eng. crag.]
The neck and spine of a fore quarter of veal or mutton.
[The two foregoing words are doubtless from one original.]
RACK, noun [See Reek.]
Properly, vapor; hence, thin flying broken clouds, or any portion of floating vapor in the sky.
The winds in the upper region, which move the clouds above, which we call the rack -
The great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and, like this unsubstantial pageant, faded, leave not a rack behind.
It is disputed however, whether rack in this passage should not be wreck.
RACK, noun [for arrack. See Arrack.] Among the Tartars, a spirituous liquor made of mare's milk which has become sour and is then distilled.
RACK, verb intransitive [See the noun.]
1. Properly, to steam; to rise, as vapor.
[See Reek, which is the word used.]
2. To fly, as vapor or broken clouds.
RACK, verb transitive [from the noun.]
1. To torture; to stretch or strain on the rack or wheel; as, to rack a criminal or suspected person, to extort a confession of his guilt, or compel him to betray his accomplices.
2. To torment; to torture; to affect with extreme pain or anguish; as racked with deep despair.
3. To harass by exaction.
The landlords there shamefully rack their tenants.
4. To stretch; to strain vehemently; to wrest; as, to rack and stretch Scripture; to rack invention.
The wisest among the heathens racked their wits -
5. To stretch; to extend.
RACK, verb transitive
To draw off from the lees; to draw off, as pure liquor from its sediment; as, to rack cider or wine; to rack off liquor.