v. ran·kled, ran·kling, ran·kles
1. 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).
2. To feel or express irritation or resentment about something: She rankled at what she considered to be unfair criticism.
3. To become sore or inflamed; fester: a wound that rankled.
To cause (someone) to feel irritated or resentful: He was rankled by his rival's sudden success.
[Middle English ranclen, from Old French raoncler, rancler, alteration of draoncler, from draoncle, festering sore, ulcer, from Medieval Latin dracunculus, from diminutive of dracō, dracōn-, serpent, dragon (in reference to the fiery red color and pain of a sore or to the irregular shape of some festering sores), from Latin, serpent, fabulous serpentine beast; see DRAGON.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.