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
rancidityplay \ran-ˈsi-də-tē\ noun
rancidnessplay \ˈran(t)-səd-nəs\ noun
rancid was our Word of the Day on 04/09/2014. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of rancid in a Sentence
Some foods become rancid quickly.
an unscrupulous food vendor who's as rancid as the meat that he serves
Recent Examples of rancid from the Web
This week, the plant began its rancid repeat engagement.
For years, the little gray donkey had been kept in a cramped and rancid stall by a neglectful owner.
Mixed nuts: Refrigerator Nuts contain heart healthy oils that can become rancid when stored too long at room temperature, especially in a warm kitchen.
While technically speaking for himself, Jean-Marie can continue to promulgate the rancid ideas upon which the National Front is built, without the Party having to take responsibility for them.
The 1930s confounded the European left because capitalism’s crisis benefited the rancid right, which by melding economic and cultural anxieties produced aspirations from the base metal of resentments.
The government raced to protect a key industry, saying meatpackers accused of paying bribes to meat inspectors in a corruption scandal did so to get their products out faster, not to sell rancid meat here and abroad.
The second shop is filthy, with piles of rancid bologna on the floor, pepperoncini in the toilet, and Swiss cheese jammed into broken light fixtures.
But the complaints weren’t due to an actual infestation or rancid food at the Sarasota, Fla., business.
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
First Known Use: 1627See Words from the same year
RANCID Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of rancid for Students
: having a strong disagreeable smell or taste from no longer being fresh rancid butter
Medical Definition of rancid
: having a rank smell or taste usually from chemical change or decomposition rancid butter
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up rancid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).