Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Lowell from Interlochen followed up on the word range, which is applied to an array of burners on top of an oven. His question was, how does the range plied by cowboys (Home on the Range), fit in?

The basic meaning of range is a row, line, or series, but many meanings have taken over from there. Range became the American word for the grazing ground for livestock. The verb range meant to wander over a large area. Along with the buffalo, the cattle roamed.

Range is one of the words with an incredible number of meanings. Let’s review some of them.
  • a rank or file of hunters or soldiers.
  • a row, line, or series of things.
  • a line of mountains, hills, or other large natural features.
  • a row of buildings; a continuous stretch of a building.
  • a measure of young timber or underwood.
  • a (usually numbered) column of townships, six miles in width, extending north and south parallel to the principal meridian of a survey.
  • a set of points on a straight line, esp. as determining a pencil of lines joining each point to some non-collinear point.
  • a rank, a class, an order; a level in a hierarchy.
  • the elevation of a gun in firing; the direction of a shot.
  • in glazing: the length of a line perpendicular to one edge of a diamond-shaped quarry and meeting the opposite angle.
  • Shoemaking: the lie or line of the upper edge of a counter.
  • any gas or electric cooker incorporating burners or heating elements and one or more ovens.
  • the fat produced from roasting meat, dripping.
  • a fence, an enclosure.
  • an unbroken stretch of railing, balustrade, battlement, or the like.
  • a strip of leather from which smaller pieces are cut.
  • a strip of glass from which smaller panes are cut.
  • Nautical: a portion of anchor cable drawn up on deck, of sufficient length to enable the anchor to descend smoothly.
  • Mining: a deposit or vein of ore, mineral, etc.
  • Nautical: a large cleat for securing tacks and bowlines.
  • a wooden stake to which cattle are tied when indoors.
  • a shaft running between two horses pulling a coach or carriage.
  • an area marked out for a jousting tournament.
  • grazing ground for livestock.
  • an extensive stretch of grazing or hunting ground.
  • an area of land or sea used as a testing ground for rockets, military equipment, etc.
  • a walk, a stroll.
  • opportunity or scope for ranging about.
  • a single pass in the application of a file to the notches of a saw blade.
  • a set of different things of the same general type.
  • a set of goods manufactured or for sale.
  • the maximum distance to which a weapon will shoot, or over which a bullet or other projectile will travel.
  • Physics: the distance over which a physical force is effective.
  • the maximum distance at which a radio or television transmission can effectively be received.
  • the distance that can normally be covered by an aircraft or other vehicle without having to refuel.
  • the distance of an object as detected by radar.
  • the scope of something.
  • Nautical: field of vision.
  • the scope or extent of a person's knowledge or abilities.
  • the span or scope of a scientific instrument.
  • the variation of pitch a musical instrument or voice can produce.
  • the size of the difference between the greatest and least amount or degree.
  • a series or scale of values or degrees between particular upper and lower limits.
  • Mathematics: the set of values that the dependent variable of a function can take.
  • Statistics: the difference observed in a sample between the smallest and largest values of a variable.
  • the area over which the occurrence of a phenomenon, artifact, etc., is known or possible.
  • Botany and Zoology: the geographical area within which a given species or other taxon of plant or animal occurs.
  • in an unbroken straight line.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

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