Why Is a Rack Called a Rack?

The word “rack” has about two dozen definitions, from destruction, to a scud of clouds, to a cut of juicy ribs, to a most buoyant part of the female anatomy capitalized on by the “restaurant” Hooters.

By Rock and Ice | June 30th, 2010

Why is a rack called a rack? 

The word “rack” has about two dozen definitions, from destruction, to a scud of clouds, to a cut of juicy ribs, to a most buoyant part of the female anatomy capitalized on by the “restaurant” Hooters. My favorite definition, and the one that seems most apropos, is that from Ambrose Bierce. In his Devil’s Dictionary he said a rack was “An argumentative implement formerly much used in persuading devotees of a false faith to embrace the living truth.” Alternately, we might consider the first definition from the Oxford American Dictionary, which says a “rack” is “a framework for hanging things on.” That sorta makes sense, but whatever. Gear Guy has spoken!

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