- To rankle is to cause someone to have long-lasting annoyance, anger or irritation.
When you say something to someone that you know will cause upset and anger, this is an example of a time when you rankle someone.
transitive verbrankled, rankling
- Obsolete to fester; become or make inflamed
- to cause or cause to have long-lasting anger, rancor, resentment, etc.: their indifference rankled him
Origin of rankleMiddle English ranclen ; from Old French rancler ; from raoncle, draoncle, a fester, ulcer ; from Medieval Latin dracunculus ; from Classical Latin diminutive of draco, dragon
verbran·kled, ran·kling, ran·kles
- To cause persistent irritation or resentment: “Although Johnson's assertion of raw power rankled at the time, Mitchell had come to appreciate its simple logic” (Nick Kotz).
- To feel or express irritation or resentment about something: She rankled at what she considered to be unfair criticism.
- To become sore or inflamed; fester: a wound that rankled.
Origin of rankleMiddle English ranclen, from Old French rancler, alteration of draoncler, from draoncle, festering sore, ulcer, from Medieval Latin dracunculus, from diminutive of dracō, dracōn-, serpent, dragon (probably in reference to the fiery red color and pain of a sore), from Latin, serpent, fabulous serpentine beast; see Dragon .
(third-person singular simple present rankles, present participle rankling, simple past and past participle rankled)