[ rang-kuhl ]
See synonyms for: ranklerankling on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),ran·kled, ran·kling.
  1. (of unpleasant feelings, experiences, etc.) to continue to cause keen irritation or bitter resentment within the mind; fester; be painful.

verb (used with object),ran·kled, ran·kling.
  1. to cause keen irritation or bitter resentment in: His colleague's harsh criticism rankled him for days.

Origin of rankle

1250–1300; Middle English ranclen<Middle French rancler,Old French raoncler, variant of draoncler to fester, derivative of draoncle a sore <Late Latin dracunculus small serpent, diminutive of Latin dracō serpent; see dragon, carbuncle

Other words for rankle

Other words from rankle

  • ran·kling·ly, adverb
  • un·ran·kled, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use rankle in a sentence

  • To add to the discomfort the crew of the "Royal Oak" were rankling under a grievance.

    The Dreadnought of the Air | Percy F. Westerman
  • Slaughter looked at him, his rage still rankling and burning.

    Colonial Born | G. Firth Scott
  • The further resistance came, whether from rivals, or from the rankling anger in Elizabeth's breast.

    Sir Walter Ralegh | William Stebbing
  • Somewhere, somehow, he had taken a cynic twist or a rankling wound that had turned his white man's blood once for all.

  • Still rankling in Hannah's memory was a day when Lise had returned from school, dark and mutinous, with a tale of such a family.

British Dictionary definitions for rankle


/ (ˈræŋkəl) /

  1. (intr) to cause severe and continuous irritation, anger, or bitterness; fester: his failure to win still rankles

Origin of rankle

C14 ranclen, from Old French draoncler to fester, from draoncle ulcer, from Latin dracunculus small serpent, from dracō serpent; see dragon

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