• rancor •
ræng-kêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)
Meaning: Bitter, deeply felt and long-lasting resentment, brooding anger.
Notes: The adjective accompanying today's Good Word is rancorous, which produces an adverb, rancorously, and a noun, rancorousness, which means pretty much the same as rancor. If you are outside the United States, remember to spell this word rancour, though the adjective is spelled the same everywhere.
In Play: It is difficult to say anything light-hearted using today's bitter but nonetheless Good Word: "The political debate in the United States today no longer even attempts to conceal the deep-seated rancor that underlies it." But it can be done: "Eva Brick still bears considerable rancor toward Frank Sanbeens for the cheap meal he prepared for her at home when she thought that she had been invited out for dinner at the Eaton Inn."
Word History: Today's word entered English from Norman-French rancor, which it inherited from Middle French rancour, currently rancœur in Modern French. (Apparently French applied a bit of folk etymology by associating rancour with c?ur "heart".) French inherited the word from Latin rancor "stench, rancidity". Latin rancor is a noun derived from a verb whose origin has everyone stumped: rancere "to stink, be rotten". This meaning shifted to a rottenness of spirit in rancor but remained untainted in the adjective derived from it, rancidus, which English borrowed as rancid.
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