c. 1200, "row or line of persons" (especially hunters or soldiers), from Old French range "range, rank" (see range (v.)). General sense of "line, row" is from early 14c.; meaning "row of mountains" is from 1705.
Meaning "scope, extent" first recorded late 15c.; that of "area over which animals seek food" is from 1620s, from the verb. Specific U.S. sense of "series of townships six miles in width" is from 1785. Sense of "distance a gun can send a bullet" is recorded from 1590s; meaning "place used for shooting practice" is from 1862. The cooking appliance so called since mid-15c., for unknown reasons. Originally a stove built into a fireplace with openings on top for multiple operations. Range-finder attested from 1872.
c. 1200, rengen, "move over a large area, roam with the purpose of searching or hunting," from Old French ranger, earlier rengier "to place in a row, arrange; get into line," from reng "row, line," from Frankish *hring or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *hringaz "circle, ring, something curved," from nasalized form of PIE root *sker- (2) "to turn, bend." Sense of "to arrange in rows" is recorded from c. 1300; intransitive sense of "exist in a row or rows" is from c. 1600. Related: Ranged; ranging.
rank and file
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