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1 definition found
 for To rack one''s brains out
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Rack \Rack\ (r[a^]k), v. t.
     1. To extend by the application of force; to stretch or
        strain; specifically, to stretch on the rack or wheel; to
        torture by an engine which strains the limbs and pulls the
        joints.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              He was racked and miserably tormented. --Foxe.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. To torment; to torture; to affect with extreme pain or
        anguish.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Vaunting aloud but racked with deep despair.
                                                    --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. To stretch or strain, in a figurative sense; hence, to
        harass, or oppress by extortion.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              The landlords there shamefully rack their tenants.
                                                    --Spenser.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              They [landlords] rack their rents an ace too high.
                                                    --Gascoigne.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Grant that I may never rack a Scripture simile
              beyond the true intent thereof.       --Fuller.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Try what my credit can in Venice do;
              That shall be racked even to the uttermost. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     4. (Mining) To wash on a rack, as metals or ore.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     5. (Naut.) To bind together, as two ropes, with cross turns
        of yarn, marline, etc.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     To rack one's brains or To rack one's brains out or To
     rack one's wits, to exert one's thinking processes to the
        utmost for the purpose of accomplishing something; as, I
        racked my brains out trying to find a way to solve the
        problem.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
  
     Syn: To torture; torment; rend; tear.
          [1913 Webster]

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