c. 1200, renge, "row or line of persons" (especially hunters or soldiers), from Old French reng, renge "a row, line, rank," 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"). In some cases the Middle English word is from Old French range "range, rank," a variant of reng.
The general sense of "line, row" is attested from early 14c.; the meaning "row of mountains" is by 1705. The meaning "scope, extent" is by 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 has been so called since mid-15c., for reasons unknown. Originally it was a stove built into a fireplace with openings on top for multiple operations. Range-finder "instrument for measuring the distance of an object" is attested from 1872.
c. 1200, rengen, "to move over or through (a large area), roam with the purpose of searching or hunting," from Old French ranger, rangier, 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"). Compare arrange. Sense of "to arrange in rows, make a row or rows of" is recorded from c. 1300; intransitive sense of "exist in a row or rows" is from c. 1600. Related: Ranged; ranging.
updated on April 15, 2021