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 closed 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

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

(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 (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

to show support for other members of your group Dale urged his former rivals to close ranks behind his candidacy.
Etymology: based on the military meaning of close ranks (to form a straight row with other soldiers)
See also: close, rank

close ranks

if members of a group close ranks, they publicly show that they support each other, especially when people outside of the group are criticizing them
Usage notes: If soldiers close ranks, they move closer together so that it is more difficult to go past them.
In the past, the party would have closed ranks around its leader and defended him loyally against his critics.
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