Definition of rancid
- rancid butter
- rancid breath
- 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
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Some foods become rancid quickly.
an unscrupulous food vendor who's as rancid as the meat that he serves
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.
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."
First Known Use: 1627See Words from the same year
What made you want to look up rancid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to lessen the seriousness or strength of
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