1) A verb, descriptive of the gait of a horse when the two feet on each side are raised simultaneously.

1490 all my riding horses ... except the raking gelding, Batley

1549 my yonge daple gray geldyng rackyng and trottyng, Newby near Topcliffe

1562 one trotting mare ... One old rackynge nagg xxs, Thrintoft

1631 one sad bay maire trots ... one bay fillie with a white starre racks, Adwalton.

dates 1490 1549 1562 1631

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2) A bar or set of bars used to support a spit or other cooking utensil.

1400 Et respondent ... pro ij paribus de rakkez, j brandereth, Richmond

1434 unum yren spytt, duos yren rakkes, Campsall

1535 ij pare rakes of Iron iijs, Stillingfleet

1567 fowre spittes two Iron Rackes, one gyrde Iron, Fixby

1669 a rainge, a pair of racks and 3 spits, Elmswell.

dates 1400 1434 1535 1567 1669

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3) A frame designed to hold a cross-bow when it was not in use.

1520 To Mr Vavasour my crosse bowe with rake, York

1548 a crossebowe with the rakke for the same, Norton, Wath

1565 a crosbowe & rack xxs, Temple Newsam.

dates 1520 1548 1565

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4) Commonly used by dialect speakers in the phrase 'by the rack of the eye', that is estimating an angle or a distance without any rule or measurement. No early example has been found but 'rake' was formerly used in estimating distances.

1647 one yeard and a quarter broad and a yeard deepe, more or lesse according to therake, West Riding.

spellings rake (2)
places West Riding
dates 1647

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0