WORD ORIGIN

1590s, in reference to the horizontal and vertical lines of soldiers marching in formation; thence generalized to "common soldiers" (1796) and "common people" (1860).

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR RANK AND FILE

ragtag and bobtail

nounlowest common denominator
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.