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RANK. The order or place in which certain officers are placed in the army and navy, in relation to others, is called their rank.
     2. It is a maxim, that officers of, an inferior rank are bound to obey all the lawful commands of their superiors, and are justified for such obedience.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Republican Governor John Rowland has gone to extraordinary (and possibly illegal) lengths to crush the union, New England Health Care Employees District 1199, publicly calling for members, who are mostly women of color, to break ranks and stay on the job.
Shooters, hunters, pro-gun people of all types cannot afford to break ranks just because we aren't into the other guy's thing.
The Republicans don't have enough votes to convict him and the Democrats won't break ranks to help them do so.
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).
Fortunately for taxpayers, cartel members eventually will cave in to the temptation to break ranks and slash taxes, leading to the group's demise and reductions in tax burdens and complexity.
As one of eight union presidents to break ranks with their AFL leadership for its reluctance to organize the mass industries, Hillman aided in the creation of a "committee for industrial organization," which became the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
Mr Johnson is the first senior Tory to break ranks with the PM's line that we cannot join Assad due to his poor human rights record.