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[ran-sid] /ˈræn sɪd/
having a rank, unpleasant, stale smell or taste, as through decomposition, especially of fats or oils:
rancid butter.
(of an odor or taste) rank, unpleasant, and stale:
a rancid smell.
offensive or nasty; disagreeable.
Origin of rancid
1640-50; < Latin rancidus rank, stinking, equivalent to ranc(ēre) to be rotten + -idus -id4
Related forms
rancidly, adverb
rancidness, rancidity, noun
unrancid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rancid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The rancid smell of bedding struck his sensitive nostrils from within.

    In Happy Valley

    John Fox
  • The smell of hot, rancid grease struck him like a solid wall.

    The Coffin Cure Alan Edward Nourse
  • It smelled as if it had been boiling three weeks in a rancid pot.

    The Coffin Cure Alan Edward Nourse
  • A pity that he goes about so unclean, smelling of rancid sanctity!

    Luna Benamor Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • It proved to be dried beans and corn cooked with rancid tallow!

  • There were chuckles from the shadows that sucked in and exhaled the rancid air.

    Gladiator Philip Wylie
British Dictionary definitions for rancid


(of butter, bacon, etc) having an unpleasant stale taste or smell as the result of decomposition
(of a taste or smell) rank or sour; stale
Derived Forms
rancidity (rænˈsɪdɪtɪ), rancidness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin rancidus rank, from rancēre to stink
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rancid

1640s, from Latin rancidus "rank, stinking, offensive" (also source of Italian rancido, Spanish rancio), from rancere "be spoiled or rotten," of unknown origin. German ranzig is from French rancide. Related: Rancidness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rancid in Medicine

rancid ran·cid (rān'sĭd)
Having the disagreeable odor or taste of decomposing oils or fats.

ran·cid'i·ty or ran'cid·ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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