Definition of rack rent in English:

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rack rent


An extortionate or very high rent.
Example sentences
  • A rack rent, therefore, was a high, level rent, unlike earlier forms (mainly beneficial leases and copyholds) that had the tenant pay a large lump sum followed by a nominal rent and, perhaps, feudal services in money, labor or kind.
  • It was March 1880 and the Land War was in full swing when rebellious tenants all over Ireland refused to pay rack rents due to the fact that they had no money and were on the constant threshold of famine.
  • They were a subdued and powerless people owing their very existence to landlords and their agents who worked them to the bond with rack rents.


(rack-rent) [with object] dated
Exact an excessive or extortionate rent from (a tenant) or for (a property): (as noun rack-renting) hundreds of thousands of peasants who hate corruption, rack-renting, and foreign intervention (as adjective rack-renting) rack-renting landlords
More example sentences
  • A small studio in the centre of the town - ideal either for monitoring the joyful events in person or indeed for rack-renting desperate pilgrims - starts at around €30,000.
  • One reason for introducing short leases was so that ‘rack-rented farms could… become subject to market forces… ’, but another was that they made tenants more accountable to landlords.



Pronunciation: /ˈrakˌrɛntə/
Example sentences
  • Why should a poor farmer, who is producing on the land, pay $60,000 or $70,000 by way of losses because of a rack-renter and property speculator in Auckland?


Late 16th century (as rack-rented): from the verb rack1 (in the sense 'cause stress') + the noun rent1.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rack rent

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