rancid

adjective ran·cid \ ˈran(t)-səd \

Definition of rancid

1 :having an unpleasant smell or taste usually from chemical change or decomposition
  • rancid butter
  • rancid breath
2 :distinctly unpleasant or distasteful :offensive
  • a rancid sexual scandal
  • Without free speech, even in its most rancid forms, we may have nothing to choose at night but old movies and "Heeeeeeeere's Johnny!"
  • —Richard Corliss

rancidity

play \ran-ˈsi-də-tē\ noun

rancidness

play \ˈran(t)-səd-nəs\ noun

rancid was our Word of the Day on 04/09/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of rancid in a Sentence

  1. Some foods become rancid quickly.

  2. an unscrupulous food vendor who's as rancid as the meat that he serves

Recent Examples of rancid from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rancid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Rancid has a fairly straightforward history; it derives from Latin rancidus, itself from the Latin verb rancēre, meaning "to be rancid" or "to stink." In addition to the related words rancidness and rancidity, another descendant of rancēre in English is rancor, meaning "bitter deep-seated ill will." (Rancor passed through Middle French rather than being borrowed into English directly.) These days, rancid also has developed a second, extended sense which is used in the context of offenses to less literal or physical senses than those of smell or taste, and you might see references to "rancid behavior" or "a rancid personality."

Origin and Etymology of rancid

Latin rancidus, from rancēre to be rancid


RANCID Defined for English Language Learners

rancid

adjective

Definition of rancid for English Language Learners

  • of food : having a strong and unpleasant smell or taste from no longer being fresh

  • : full of anger and bitterness


RANCID Defined for Kids

rancid

adjective ran·cid \ ˈran-səd \

Definition of rancid for Students

:having a strong disagreeable smell or taste from no longer being fresh
  • rancid butter

Medical Dictionary

rancid

adjective ran·cid \ ˈran(t)-səd \

medical Definition of rancid

:having a rank smell or taste usually from chemical change or decomposition
  • rancid butter


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