break ranks

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

break ranks

or

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

break rank (or ranks)

1 (of soldiers or police officers) fail to remain in line. 2 fail to maintain solidarity.
See also: break, rank
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

break ranks

Fail to conform. The term originated in the military, where “rank” means “soldiers drawn up in rank,” and signifies falling out of order and into disarray. In the mid-1800s, it began to be used figuratively, as in “Don’t break ranks; you’ve got to follow the official party platform.”
See also: break, rank
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Breaking Ranks II offers that the business of education is about learning and achievements for students ...
Some of the recommendations included in Breaking Ranks H reflect the recommendations of ACTE.
"Newcastle University has no intention of breaking ranks with the higher education sector on the issue of academic pay or student tuition fees.
Boldly breaking ranks with his own department, Detective James Gilmore decided to stand in protest with the community he has served for more than 13 years.
The measure, which would allow voucher aid to religious and other private schools, was approved on a party line vote, with only two Republicans -- John Chafee (R.I.) and James Jeffords (Vt.) -- breaking ranks with the GOP to vote against it.
Breaking ranks with Negro American officialdom, which lauded the reigning queen of pulp fiction, was no small feat, suggests David Levering Lewis, and "only Sterling Brown had the courage to break ranks and deeply anger Hurst" (297).
To support his claim over alleged illegal collusion, Roth produced a number of emails, either internal or between representatives of the bookmakers, where terms like "breaking ranks" and "we stand steadfast" were used.
Comparing Mr Morrison to other Government experts who broke ranks over the WMD claims, he said: "These are honest, hard-working servants of the state, well used to not breaking ranks and now they have.
THE combined MMR vaccine yesterday received cross-party support in the Welsh Assembly with the Tories breaking ranks with their Westminster colleagues over the single jab.