bitter, rankling resentment or ill will; hatred; malice.

Also especially British, ran·cour.

Origin of rancor

1175–1225; Middle English rancour < Middle French < Late Latin rancōr- (stem of rancor) rancidity, equivalent to Latin ranc(ēre) (see rancid) + -ōr- -or1
Related formsran·cored; especially British, ran·coured, adjectiveun·ran·cored, adjective

Synonyms for rancor

Antonyms for rancor

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rancour

Historical Examples of rancour

  • He did not dare express all his rancour, while he was unequal to suppressing it entirely.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • If he has any rancour or hardness in him it will bring it out.

  • The next was that his good spirits were also shared by Miss Bishop, and that she bore no rancour.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • All this aroused his rancour now, and steeled his heart against the voice of honour.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The prince was stung to the quick, though for the moment he kept his rancour hidden.



British Dictionary definitions for rancour


US rancor


malicious resentfulness or hostility; spite
Derived Formsrancorous, adjectiverancorously, adverbrancorousness, noun

Word Origin for rancour

C14: from Old French, from Late Latin rancor rankness
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

Word Origin and History for rancour

chiefly British English spelling of rancor; for ending see -or. Related: Rancourous.



c.1200, from Old French rancor "bitterness, resentment; grief, affliction," from Late Latin rancorem (nominative rancor) "rancidness, a stinking smell" (Palladius); "grudge, bitterness" (Hieronymus and in Late Latin), from Latin rancere "to stink" (see rancid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper