The ranks

the order or grade of common soldiers; as, to reduce a noncommissioned officer to the ranks.

See also: Rank

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in classic literature ?
It is desirable to find some comprehensive principle, that shall render our task easier by bringing thousands into the ranks where hitherto we have brought one.
There was no want of distinguished and noble candidates to fill up the ranks on either side.
The knights, entering at either end of the lists in long procession, arranged themselves in a double file, precisely opposite to each other, the leader of each party being in the centre of the foremost rank, a post which he did not occupy until each had carefully marshalled the ranks of his party, and stationed every one in his place.
At first Kutuzov stood still while the regiment moved; then he and the general in white, accompanied by the suite, walked between the ranks.
From the way the regimental commander saluted the commander in chief and devoured him with his eyes, drawing himself up obsequiously, and from the way he walked through the ranks behind the generals, bending forward and hardly able to restrain his jerky movements, and from the way he darted forward at every word or gesture of the commander in chief, it was evident that he performed his duty as a subordinate with even greater zeal than his duty as a commander.
Then Minerva took the form of Laodocus, son of Antenor, and went through the ranks of the Trojans to find Pandarus, the redoubtable son of Lycaon.
As he sprang to his feet the warriors leaped toward him with raised clubs and savage yells, but the foremost went down to sudden death beneath the long, stout stick of the ape-man, and then the lithe, sinewy figure was among them, striking right and left with a fury, power, and precision that brought panic to the ranks of the blacks.
In front stood the bow-men, ten deep, with a fringe of under-officers, who paced hither and thither marshalling the ranks with curt precept or short rebuke.
A subdued murmur of assent ran through the ranks of the Artisans, and Chromatistes, in alarm, attempted to step forward and address them.
Some experienced conchologists are now sinking many of the very fine species of D'Orbigny and others into the rank of varieties; and on this view we do find the kind of evidence of change which on my theory we ought to find.
When, therefore, the father of Marmaduke’s friend, after forty years’ service, retired with the rank of major, maintaining in his domestic establishment a comparative splendor, he be came a man of the first consideration in his native colony which was that of New York.
Years ago I shifted my share of the rank (whatever it may be) on to my brother's shoulders.