close ranks

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close ranks

1. Literally, to move closer to the other troops while in a military formation. As soon as the captain called for us to close ranks, we all moved closer together.
2. By extension, to show support for someone or something, especially as a response to criticism. This phrase is typically applied to a group of people. Our family was sure to close ranks behind mom as she suffered public backlash during her campaign for mayor.
See also: close, rank

close ranks (with someone)

to join with someone in a cause, or agreement. We can fight this menace only if we close ranks. Let's all close ranks with Ann and adopt her suggestions.
See also: close, rank

close ranks

(behind someone or something) to support someone or something; to back someone or something. We will close ranks behind the party's nominee. Let's close ranks behind her and give her the support she needs.
See also: close, rank

close ranks

to move closer together in a military formation. The soldiers closed ranks and marched on the enemy in tight formation.
See also: close, rank

close ranks

Unite, work together, as in The members decided to close ranks and confront the president. This expression, dating from the late 1700s, comes from the military, where it denotes bringing troops into close order so there are no gaps in the fighting line. (A slightly earlier form was close lines.) It has been used figuratively since the mid-1800s.
See also: close, rank

close ranks

COMMON If the members of a group close ranks, they say things to show that they support each other totally when someone who is not in their group criticizes one of their members. Note: A rank of soldiers is a line of them standing side by side. They would more likely close ranks and support their president rather than abandon him in an election year. Cabinet ministers have closed ranks behind the Prime Minister, saying there was no question of his stepping down. Note: When soldiers close ranks, they stand closer together so that it is hard for anyone to break through the line.
See also: close, rank

close ranks

1 (of soldiers or police officers) come closer together in a line. 2 unite in order to defend common interests.
2 1998 Country Life The farming community stands to lose those privileges unless it closes ranks against the few who let the side down.
See also: close, rank

close ˈranks

(of the members of a profession, group, etc.) co-operate closely to protect and defend each other: Although the family quarrelled a good deal among themselves, they quickly closed ranks against any outsider who criticized one of them.
See also: close, rank
References in periodicals archive ?
As the local underworld closes ranks, Jack's bosses back in London find out that Jack has had his fingers in the till, and other places they shouldn't have been.
I just can't understand why the game closes ranks in these situations.
The Moderator elect of the Church of Scotland and a female companion are found naked in a car with their throats cut, but the church closes ranks as Rebus investigates.
Historically racing closes ranks and pretends nothing is going on, but I sense a sea-change in public tolerance.
Once again, racing closes ranks and refuses to admit any wrongdoing.
Once again, the establishment closes ranks and points the finger of blame at the handiest scapegoats - and raises two fingers at voters - G.
The Labour Party closes ranks with Barak after he refused to cede his candidacy in the Feb.