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RANKLE

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RANKLE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed May 10, 2006 11:35 pm

• rankle •

Pronunciation: ræng-kêl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To deeply and persistently irritate. 2. To remain inflamed and worsen, to fester.

Notes: A word similar to today's, wrangle "to argue persistently", begins with an irrelevant W. In fact, confusion can arise with a number of English words with irrelevant Ws, like write, wriggle, and wring. Remember that rankle is not among them. Also remember that the E comes off before suffixes that begin with a vowel, as in rankling.

In Play: Rankle is a verb that may perform intransitive or transitive duty. You may rankle over an affront: "It still rankles in Abel Mann's heart that Myrna left him so abruptly without even taking off his Harley-Davidson leather jacket." It is also possible for an affront or a person to rankle you: "The new Mercedes in his neighbor's driveway rankles Foster more than he is willing to admit."

Word History: Today's Good Word has a twisted history that snakes its way from snakes through festering sores to the festering resentment is indicates today. It all began with Latin draco(n) "serpent", which English also grabbed directly for its word dragon. However, the word had a diminutive, dracunculus, meaning "little snake", which was inherited by Old French, where it was melted down to draoncle and came to mean "festering sore". This noun was converted into a verb, draoncler "to fester". The noun and the verb somehow lost the initial D before Old English borrowed the verb as ranclen "to fester", whence today's Good Word.
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Irrelevant Ws?

Postby Slava » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:46 pm

A nice word, I just used it in a post and decided to search for it here. Voilá, here it is. Now, however, I have to question just what an "irrelevant W" is.

In most of the words cited above, the W actually does produce a new word. It may not change the pronunciation, but it does provide the clue to the meaning. Write and rite, wring and ring, wrangle and rangle, (okay, that one's obsolete); these are all different words. I'm sure there are many others, and Mr. W would not appreciate being called irrelevant, I dare say.

As I'm a Harry Potter fan, I can't resist adding that calling young Malfoy Dracunculus would have been a great insult.
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Postby misterdoe » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:31 am

I love this word, even though sometimes it seems like a regional pronunciation of wrinkle. Currently it brings to mind a couple of current coworkers, shambling around the office in rumpled clothes and perpetual scowls -- "rankled" in more ways than one :)
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Superfluous W

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:24 am

When I speak about letters, I assume the primary function of letters, to symbolize sounds. While superfluous letters do randomly and occasionally distinguish two homophones like ring and wring, they are mostly useless, e.g. all the GHs still clinging on pointlessly in words like though, through, etc. Even in the case of ring and wring, the superfluous W conceals the fact that the two words are, in fact, homophones.
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Postby Slava » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:08 pm

Ah ha! I was thinking superfluous as in the O and the U in British English. Colour, foetus, oestrogen, humour, etc.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:07 pm

But isn't the oe replacing an o with an umlaut crowning it? And the extra u is just the British being British. glad the doc thinks the gh's are useless because textx and tweets on tiny keyboards are cutting the words to tho and thru.
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