Generative adversarial networks (GANs) have great successes on synthesizing data. However, the existing GANs restrict the discriminator to be a binary classifier, and thus limit their learning capacity for tasks that need to synthesize output with rich structures such as natural language descriptions. In this paper, we propose a novel generative adversarial network, RankGAN, for generating high-quality language descriptions. Rather than train the discriminator to learn and assign absolute binary predicate for individual data sample, the proposed RankGAN is able to analyze and rank a collection of human-written and machine-written sentences by giving a reference group. By viewing a set of data samples collectively and evaluating their quality through relative ranking scores, the discriminator is able to make better assessment which in turn helps to learn a better generator. The proposed RankGAN is optimized through the policy gradient technique. Experimental results on multiple public datasets clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.