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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 ?
Using membership lists of organizations, biographical dictionaries, obituaries, and census data, Green shakes the family trees of several hundred white women from the rank and file of pro- and anti-suffrage movements throughout the South.
It's going to have to get away from the union bosses and go back to the rank and file," said Charles B.
Whereas 44% of the rank and file graded themselves an "A" or "B" when it comes to improving quality, only 29% of the senior executives gave employees an "A" or "B" for effort.