rankle

[rang-kuhl]
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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
Related formsran·kling·ly, adverbun·ran·kled, adjective

Synonyms for rankle

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for rankling

upsetting, disturbing, annoying, irritating, galling, painful

Examples from the Web for rankling

Historical Examples of rankling

  • She could not understand the amount of offence which was rankling in Mary's bosom.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope

  • The skilful performance of my duty was the source of a rankling grudge.

    Captain Canot

    Brantz Mayer

  • Yet the knowledge imparted to him by the chambermaid was rankling in his mind.

    Sister Carrie

    Theodore Dreiser

  • THE wound which Maltravers had received was peculiarly severe and rankling.

    Ernest Maltravers, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • The loss of the horse had been rankling in his heart all day.


British Dictionary definitions for rankling

rankle

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

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for rankling

rankle

v.

c.1300, "to fester," from Old French rancler, earlier raoncler, draoncler "to suppurate, run," from draoncle "abscess, festering sore," from Medieval Latin dracunculus, literally "little dragon," diminutive of Latin draco "serpent, dragon" (see dragon). The notion is of an ulcer caused by a snake's bite. Meaning "cause to fester" is from c.1400. Related: Rankled; rankling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper