ran·​cor ˈraŋ-kər How to pronounce rancor (audio)
: bitter deep-seated ill will
Choose the Right Synonym for rancor

enmity, hostility, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, rancor, animus mean deep-seated dislike or ill will.

enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed.

an unspoken enmity

hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression.

hostility between the two nations

antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility.

a natural antipathy for self-seekers
antagonism between the brothers

animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility.

animosity that led to revenge

rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong.

rancor filled every line of his letters

animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice.

objections devoid of personal animus

Examples of rancor in a Sentence

She answered her accusers calmly and without rancor. In the end, the debate created a degree of rancor among the committee members.
Recent Examples on the Web Amid all the rancor, the church’s pastor asked to take a short sabbatical and never returned. Greg Jaffe and Patrick Marley, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Aug. 2023 No one is happy about the industry’s rancor resulting in the long COVID of strikes. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 Migration makes European societies more diverse culturally and strong economically but now spawns populist protest and rancor. Timothy Garton Ash, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 The methods described to find compromise without rancor and drama usually work. Readers, WSJ, 14 Aug. 2023 Kerry had voiced hopes that climate negotiations could be insulated from geopolitical rancor, but Chinese officials rejected that idea. Biden and President Xi Jinping of China had agreed in a meeting in Bali in November to renew talks between their senior officials. Lisa Friedman, BostonGlobe.com, 15 July 2023 Speculation over the source of the letter’s leak is adding fuel to the council rancor. Danny McDonald, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Aug. 2023 Despite the rancor outside City Hall, the half-dozen officials speaking at the podium presented a show of unity, underscoring their message that the way to tackle the problem is together. oregonlive, 7 Aug. 2023 The mood was celebratory and upbeat and mostly free of the rancor that has dominated so much of the conversation about the nation’s politics and prospects over the past few years. Mary Claire Molloy, Washington Post, 4 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rancor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English rancour, from Anglo-French rancur, from Late Latin rancor rancidity, rancor, from Latin rancēre

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rancor was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near rancor

Cite this Entry

“Rancor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rancor. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ran·​cor ˈraŋ-kər How to pronounce rancor (audio)
: deep hatred
rancorously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on rancor

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!