To rankle is to cause someone to have long-lasting annoyance, anger or irritation.(verb)
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.
See rankle in Webster's New World College Dictionary
Origin: ME ranclen < OFr rancler < raoncle, draoncle, a fester, ulcer < ML dracunculus < L, dim. of draco, dragon
See rankle in American Heritage Dictionary 4
verb ran·kled, ran·kling, ran·kles verb, intransitive
Origin: Middle English ranclen
Origin: , from Old French rancler
Origin: , alteration of draoncler
Origin: , from draoncle, festering sore
Origin: , from Latin dracunculus
Origin: , diminutive of dracō, dracōn-, serpent; see Dragon. Word History: A persistent resentment, a festering sore, and a little snake are all coiled together in the history of the word rankle. “A little snake” is the sense of the Latin word dracunculus to which rankle can be traced, dracunculus being a diminutive of dracō, “snake.” The Latin word passed into Old French, as draoncle, having probably already developed the sense “festering sore,” because some of these sores resembled little snakes in their shape or bite. The verb draoncler, “to fester,” was then formed in Old French. The noun and verb developed alternate forms without the d-, and both were borrowed into Middle English, the noun rancle being recorded in a work written around 1190, the verb ranclen, in a work probably composed about 1300. Both words had literal senses having to do with festering sores. The noun is not recorded after the 16th century, but the verb went on to develop the figurative senses having to do with resentment and bitterness with which we are all too familiar.
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