To rack one's brains out
Rack Rack (r[a^]k), v. t. 1. To extend by the application of force; to stretch or strain; specifically, to stretch on the rack or wheel; to torture by an engine which strains the limbs and pulls the joints. [1913 Webster]

He was racked and miserably tormented. --Foxe. [1913 Webster]

2. To torment; to torture; to affect with extreme pain or anguish. [1913 Webster]

Vaunting aloud but racked with deep despair. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

3. To stretch or strain, in a figurative sense; hence, to harass, or oppress by extortion. [1913 Webster]

The landlords there shamefully rack their tenants. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]

They [landlords] rack their rents an ace too high. --Gascoigne. [1913 Webster]

Grant that I may never rack a Scripture simile beyond the true intent thereof. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

Try what my credit can in Venice do; That shall be racked even to the uttermost. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. (Mining) To wash on a rack, as metals or ore. [1913 Webster]

5. (Naut.) To bind together, as two ropes, with cross turns of yarn, marline, etc. [1913 Webster]

{To rack one's brains} or {To rack one's brains out} or {To rack one's wits}, to exert one's thinking processes to the utmost for the purpose of accomplishing something; as, I racked my brains out trying to find a way to solve the problem. [1913 Webster +PJC]

Syn: To torture; torment; rend; tear. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • To rack one's brains — Rack Rack (r[a^]k), v. t. 1. To extend by the application of force; to stretch or strain; specifically, to stretch on the rack or wheel; to torture by an engine which strains the limbs and pulls the joints. [1913 Webster] He was racked and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • To rack one's wits — Rack Rack (r[a^]k), v. t. 1. To extend by the application of force; to stretch or strain; specifically, to stretch on the rack or wheel; to torture by an engine which strains the limbs and pulls the joints. [1913 Webster] He was racked and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rack — (r[a^]k), v. t. 1. To extend by the application of force; to stretch or strain; specifically, to stretch on the rack or wheel; to torture by an engine which strains the limbs and pulls the joints. [1913 Webster] He was racked and miserably… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rack — rack1 rackingly, adv. /rak/, n. 1. a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited: a clothes rack; a luggage rack. 2. a fixture containing several tiered shelves, often affixed to a wall: a book rack; a spice rack …   Universalium

  • rack — rack1 [rak] n. [ME racke < LowG rack < IE * rek , to project, bar > ROCK2] 1. a framework, grating, case, stand, etc. for holding or displaying various things [clothes rack, dish rack, pipe rack, bomb rack]: often used in combination:… …   English World dictionary

  • rack — I. noun Etymology: Middle English rak rain cloud, rapid movement Date: 14th century a wind driven mass of high often broken clouds II. intransitive verb Date: 1590 to fly or scud in high wind III. noun Etymology: Middle English, probably from… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • think out — (Roget s Thesaurus II) I verb To think or think about carefully and at length: chew on (or over), cogitate, consider, contemplate, deliberate, entertain, excogitate, meditate, mull, muse1, ponder, reflect, revolve, ruminate, study, think, think… …   English dictionary for students

  • think — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) v. See thought. II (Roget s IV) v. 1. [To examine with the mind] Syn. cogitate, reason, deliberate, ideate, muse, ponder, consider, contemplate, deliberate, stop to consider, study, reflect, imagine,… …   English dictionary for students

  • Imagination — (Roget s Thesaurus) < N PARAG:Imagination >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 imagination imagination Sgm: N 1 originality originality Sgm: N 1 invention invention Sgm: N 1 fancy fancy Sgm: N 1 inspiration inspiration Sgm: N 1 verve …   English dictionary for students

  • concentrate — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) v. distill, condense, consolidate; intensify, fix, aim, focus; converge, center, localize; collect, assemble, gather. See assemblage, convergence. II (Roget s IV) v. 1. [To bring or come together] Syn.… …   English dictionary for students

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