1 : to cause anger, irritation, or deep bitterness in
2 : to feel anger and irritation
The ongoing roadwork has begun to rankle local owners who worry that the closed-off streets are hurting their businesses.
"That goal should sit well with many neighborhood residents—but it might rankle some landlords." — Avery Wilks and Sarah Ellis, The State (Columbia, South Carolina), 26 Sept. 2015
Did You Know?
The history of today's word is something of a sore subject. When rankle was first used in English, it meant "to fester," and that meaning is linked to the word's Old French ancestor—the noun raoncle or draoncle, which meant "festering sore." Etymologists think this Old French word was derived from the Latin dracunculus, a diminutive form of draco, which means "serpent" and which is the source of the English word dragon. The transition from serpents to sores apparently occurred because people thought certain ulcers or tumors looked like small serpents.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Memory
Fill in the blank in the following sentence with the Spanish borrowing that was the February 7th Word of the Day: "Mark's thank-you note to his hostess was sincere and touching; his only __________ was addressing her by her first name instead of 'Mrs. Henderson.'"VIEW THE ANSWER