break ranks

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to break ranks: break new ground, broke ranks

break ranks

1. Literally, to step out of a military formation. Don't break ranks, or the drill sergeant will lose it.
2. By extension, to behave in a way that is different from or opposes the other members of a group that one is a part of. You're a part of management now—if you disagree with their initiatives, then you need to break ranks.
See also: break, rank

break ranks

Fall out of line or into disorder; also, fail to conform, deviate. For example, The recruits were warned that they must not break ranks, or Harry was told to adhere to the party platform and not break ranks. This idiom uses rank in the sense of "soldiers drawn up in line," and the term originally referred to their falling into disarray. The figurative usage dates from the mid-1800s.
See also: break, rank

break ranks


break rank

COMMON If someone breaks ranks or breaks rank, they do not follow the instructions or opinions of their group or organization, and instead, say or do something that shows a different opinion. Note: A rank of soldiers is a line of them standing side by side. Would you break ranks with your party and vote against the president's tax bill? A former cabinet minister has broken ranks to protest at the Government's plans to cut the education budget. Note: When soldiers break ranks, they stop standing in a line and move apart.
See also: break, rank

break rank (or ranks)

1 (of soldiers or police officers) fail to remain in line. 2 fail to maintain solidarity.
See also: break, rank

break ˈranks

(of the members of a group) refuse to support a group or an organization of which they are members: Large numbers of MPs felt compelled to break ranks over the issue.
This idiom refers to soldiers, police etc. failing to remain in line.
See also: break, rank
References in periodicals archive ?
Cabrera heats up: Orlando Cabrera's 26 RBI since the All-Star break ranks second on the team to Vladimir Guerrero (46), a sign of his second-half resurgence.
Time will tell, but where former politicians who have had business experience break ranks (albeit in a retired capacity) with their own party dogma, one cannot but suspect that they are probably right.
That he should break ranks like this gives Howard a huge headache in his bid to portray the Tories as possessors of cohesive and innovative ideas on governing a better Britain.
The insider said: "They will all break ranks and go it alone to protect their business and sales.
In fact, one of the loudest and most vocal critics of surcharging was the very first to break ranks with us, and this was just months after the first announcement.
He wrote: "The final judgement to make dependent on what the Tories agree today, is how hard to hit them for opportunism if they break ranks.
Mark Butcher has become the first member of England's tour party for the West Indies to break ranks and urge the authorities to learn from their previous mistakes by solving the growing problem over Zimbabwe without involving the players.
Few would dare break ranks with the Democrats and reach out to the Republican Party.
Union leader John Edmonds yesterday became the first to break ranks after the STUC said it wouldn't rock the Labour boat.