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range (rānj)
a. A number or grouping of things in the same category or within specified limits: offers a range of financial services; jobs at different pay ranges.
b. An amount or extent of variation: a wide price range; the range of genetic diversity.
c. Music The gamut of tones that a voice or instrument is capable of producing. Also called compass.
d. A class, rank, or order: the lower ranges of society.
a. Extent of perception, knowledge, experience, or ability: Calculus is simply out of my range.
b. The area or sphere in which an activity takes place: beyond the range of the court's jurisdiction.
a. The maximum extent or distance limiting operation, action, or effectiveness, as of a sound, radio signal, instrument, firearm, or aircraft: the limited range of the telescope; out of range of their guns; within hearing range.
b. The maximum distance that can be covered by a vehicle with a specified payload before its fuel supply is exhausted.
c. The distance between a projectile weapon and its target.
a. A place equipped for practice in shooting at targets.
b. A testing area at which rockets and missiles are launched and tracked.
c. A place or business where golf shots can be practiced.
5. An extensive area of open land on which livestock wander and graze.
6. The geographic region in which a plant, animal, or other organism normally lives or grows.
7. The opportunity or freedom to wander or explore: We had free range of the campus.
a. Mathematics The set of all values a given function may take on.
b. Statistics The difference or interval between the smallest and largest values in a frequency distribution or a set of data.
9. A group or series of things extending in a line or row, especially a row or chain of mountains.
10. One of a series of double-faced bookcases in a library stack room.
11. A north-south strip of townships, each six miles square, numbered east and west from a specified meridian in a US public land survey.
12. A stove with spaces for cooking a number of things at the same time.
v. ranged, rang·ing, rang·es
1. To vary within specified limits: sizes that range from small to extra large.
2. To extend in a particular direction: a river that ranges to the east.
3. To cover or have application to a number of things: Their conversation ranged over the major issues of the day. Her responsibilities range across all aspects of the negotiations.
a. To move through, along, or around in an area or region: Raiders ranged up and down the coast.
b. To wander freely; roam: allowed the animals to range freely.
5. To look over something or around an area or place: The teacher's eyes ranged over the class.
6. To live or grow within a particular region: "Some animals and plants range over a large portion of the world, yet retain the same character" (Charles Darwin).
1. To arrange or dispose in a particular order, especially in rows or lines: "In the front seats of the galleries were ranged the ladies of the court" (Carolly Erickson).
2. To assign to a particular category; classify: Her works are often ranged under the headings Mystery and Science Fiction.
3. To move through or along or around in (an area or region): The scouts ranged the mountain forests. The patrol boat ranged the coast.
4. To look over or throughout (something): His eyes ranged the room, looking for the letter.
5. To turn (livestock) onto an extensive area of open land for grazing.
a. To align (a gun, for example) with a target.
b. To determine the distance of (a target).
c. To be capable of reaching (a maximum distance).
7. Nautical To uncoil (an anchor cable) on deck so the anchor may descend easily.

[Middle English, row, rank, from Old French, from earlier, renge, from rengier, to put in a row, from renc, reng, row, of Germanic origin; see sker-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

Synonyms: range, ambit, compass, orbit, purview, reach, scope, sweep
These nouns denote an area within which something acts, operates, or has power or control: the range of the book's subject; the ambit of municipal legislation; information within the compass of the article; countries within the political orbit of a world power; regulations under the government's purview; outside the reach of the law; issues within the scope of an investigation; outside the sweep of federal authority. See Also Synonyms at wander.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    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.