Archive file# o110599a
donated by L. Savage
rankle (RANG-kuhl) intr.verb
1. To cause persistent irritation or resentment.
2. To become sore or inflamed; fester.
To embitter; irritate.
[Middle English ranclen, from Old French rancler, alteration of draoncler,
from draoncle, festering sore, from Latin dracunculus, diminutive of draco,
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 draco, "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.
"It has a Venome that more or less rankles wherever it bites: And as it
reports Fancies for Facts, so it disturbs its own House as often as
Penn, William, More Fruits Of Solitude Relating To The Conduct Of Human
Life: Of Jealousy.
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