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

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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Stephen Nickell broke ranks with his colleagues to vote in favour of a quarter-point cut in interest rates to 4.
The Norwegian wing-back broke ranks and defied Thompson, who had gagged his stars in a bid to prevent them stoking up today's Premiership battle with Manchester United.
After swapping Westminster for Holyrood Chisholm, 57, broke ranks again when he urged Gordon Brown not to cut income tax.
Sir William Kerr Fraser, ex-permanent secretary to the Scottish Office, likened him to Ministers in John Major's government who broke ranks over Europe.
DOWNING Street planned to threaten the Tories with "a Bush price to pay" if they broke ranks over the war in Iraq, it was claimed yesterday.
CHEAPER cars could be in Britain within weeks after the first big motor manufacturer broke ranks yesterday.
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.