1. An extensive farm, especially in the western United States, on which large herds of cattle, sheep, or horses are raised.
2. A large farm on which a particular crop or kind of animal is raised: a mink ranch.
3. The building on a ranch occupied by its operator; a ranch house.
4. A one-story house, usually having a low-pitched roof; a ranch house.
intr.v. ranched, ranch·ing, ranch·es
To manage or work on a ranch.
[American Spanish rancho, small farm, from Spanish, hut, group of people who eat together, from Old Spanish rancharse, to be billeted, from Old French se ranger, to be arranged, from renc, reng, row, line, of Germanic origin; see sker-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.