break ranks

(redirected from broken ranks)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.

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 ?
But four councils - including one in the North East - have broken ranks and published their draft proposals.
WORD is gradually filtering out that one half of the Old Firm have broken ranks and are trying to take their place in English football.
But now one Birmingham MP, Dr Lynne Jones (Lab, Selly Oak), has broken ranks with colleagues to back the broadcasters and denounce the music as "extremely annoying".
AT last a senior copper has broken ranks with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Government.
A KEY Bank of England policymaker has broken ranks with governor Mark Carney by expressing doubts about the effectiveness of its flagship lowinterest rate policy on encouraging growth.
PETR CECH has broken ranks with his Chelsea team-mates to reveal his admiration for Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
PETER Hain has broken ranks with the Cabinet and said he is "sceptical" about nuclear power.