Entries linking to outrank
in Old English a common prefix with nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, "out, outward, outer; forth, away," from out (adv.). The use was even more common in Middle English, and also with the senses "outer, outside, on the outside, from without, external, externally; apart; greatly, extremely; completely, thoroughly, to completion." Other senses of out that extended into the use as a prefix include "beyond the surface or limits; to the utmost degree; to an explicit resolution."
In composition out has either its ordinary adverbial sense, as in outcast, outcome, outlook, etc., or a prepositional force, as in outdoors, or forms transitive verbs denoting a going beyond or surpassing of the object of the verb, in doing the act expressed by the word to which it is prefixed, as in outrun, outshine, outvenom, etc. In the last use especially out may be used with almost any noun or verb. [Century Dictionary]
early 14c., "row, line, or series;" c. 1400, a row of an army, from Old French renc, ranc "row, line" (Modern French rang), from Frankish *hring or some other Germanic source (compare Old High German hring "circle, ring"), from Proto-Germanic *hringaz "circle, ring, something curved" (from nasalized form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend").
Meaning "a social division, class of persons" is from early 15c. Meaning "high status or position in society" is from early 15c. Meaning "a relative position" is from c. 1600. Sense of "one of the rows of squares across a chess board" is by 1570s. Military ranks "the body of private soldiers" is attested by 1809.