The Meaning of Rancid: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of rancid? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word rancid, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word rancid mean?

According to Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, the word rancid (pronounced ˈrænsɪd) is an adjective that describes something that is unappealing to the senses. This thing may have a rank or unpleasant smell, as if by decomposition. This is often used to describe fats and oils, such as rancid butter, rancid bacon or rancid oil. It implies a chemical change in whatever has gone bad – something was once fresh and did not start out having a foul smell has now turned bad through decomposition. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

There are many other languages that contain words that mean rancid. You may notice that many of these words look similar to each other. This is likely because they have a common root or origin. Often, cognates – which are words that look, sound, and mean similar things across languages – are formed when words share a common ancestor, usually in Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word rancid is provided by Word Sense.

  • Finnish: eltaantunut‎, härskiintynyt‎, härski‎
  • Swedish: härsken‎
  • Czech: žluklý‎, ztuchlý‎
  • Norman: êventé‎
  • Polish: zjełczały‎ (masc.)
  • German: ranzig‎
  • Greek: χαλασμένος‎, ταγκός‎, ξινισμένος‎
  • Norwegian: harsk‎
  • Danish: harsk‎
  • Maori: kūtaitai‎
  • Italian: rancido‎
  • Latin: rancidus‎
  • Portuguese: râncido‎, ranço‎, rançoso‎
  • Catalan: ranci‎
  • Romanian: rânced‎
  • French: rance‎ (masc.)
  • Tagalog: maanta‎
  • Icelandic: þrár; þræsinn
  • Spanish: rancio‎
  • Russian: проту́хший‎, прого́рклый‎

What is the origin of the word rancid?

According to Etymonline, the word rancid has been sued since the 1640s to refer to things that are offensive to the senses. This word comes from the Latin rancidus meaning rank or stinking, which is also the source of the Italian rancido and the Spanish rancio. This comes from the word rancere, a word of unknown origin meaning spoiled or rotten. Related words include rancor, rancidity, and rancidness.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word rancid?

There are numerous different words that can be used in place of the word rancid. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary or if you are trying to avoid repeating the same word multiple times. This list of synonyms for the word rancid is provided by Thesaurus

  • high
  • off
  • stinking
  • evil-smelling
  • tainted
  • gamy
  • rank
  • moldy
  • bad
  • impure
  • nasty
  • turned
  • offensive
  • musty
  • noxious
  • disagreeable
  • putrescent
  • reeky
  • sour
  • polluted
  • unhealthy
  • smelly
  • fetid
  • sharp
  • olid
  • whiffy
  • contaminated
  • carious
  • decomposing
  • fusty
  • putrefied
  • stale
  • foul
  • disgusting
  • putrid
  • repulsive
  • feculent
  • frowzy
  • putrefactive
  • strong
  • malodorous
  • noisome
  • curdled
  • loathsome
  • soured
  • nidorous

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning as the word rancid. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also a useful tool in expanding one’s English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word rancid is also provided by Thesaurus

  • virginal
  • gleaming
  • fair
  • modernistic
  • late
  • crisp
  • this season’s
  • novel
  • raw
  • different
  • state-of-the-art
  • hot off the press
  • sharp
  • current
  • uncontaminated
  • green
  • just out
  • stimulating
  • young
  • sweet
  • now
  • glistening
  • invigorating
  • the latest
  • hot
  • sparkling
  • brand-new
  • pure
  • not stale
  • natural
  • mint
  • definite
  • new
  • recent
  • bright
  • newborn
  • brisk
  • comer
  • vivid
  • what’s happening
  • unconventional
  • untouched
  • bracing
  • clear
  • radical
  • stiff
  • crude
  • latest
  • unprocessed
  • unusual
  • unpolluted
  • beginning
  • immature
  • contemporary
  • newfangled
  • youthful
  • original
  • fresh
  • unseasoned
  • clean
  • modern
  • colorful
  • cool
  • spanking
  • up-to-date
  • quick
  • neoteric

How can the word rancid be used in a sentence?

The word rancid meaning possessing a terrible odor or taste can be used in many different contexts in the English language. In this first example, Yara’s mom is angry about the rotten food in the refrigerator.

Mom: Why do I even buy food if all of you are going to eat out all the time? I’m just wasting money!

Yara: Mom, I’m sorry–

Mom: Look at all of this. Every piece of fruit, rancid. And no one could even bother to clean it out. 

In this example, Yara’s mom uses the word rancid to describe the rotten fruit in the refrigerator that no one has eaten. In this next example, Yara is training a new coworker at her job.

Yara: Come this way, I’ll show you where the dumpster is.

Coworker: Thanks!

Yara: Actually, you might want to grab a mask first – the rancid smell back there is something else. Every night after closing we take all of the trash and throw it in the dumpster. Make sure you lock it up after – the amount of time I’ve found a person in the dumpster on an opening shift is crazy. 

In this example, Yara says that the dumpster has a rancid smell, meaning that it is particularly pungent. OVerall, the term rancid can be used to describe anything that has an unpleasant smell or odor. A wet dog that has just come inside form splashing around in the mud might have a rancid smell. Some people think that particularly fragrant cheeses – even if they are fresh – smell rancid. An unwashed dish left for months under a messy roommate’s bed might have a rancid smell.

Overall, the word rancid is used to describe something that has a terrible odor or taste.This adjective is often used to describe something that was once good but has now gone bad, usually by way of decomposition. This is a versatile word that can be used in many different ways in American English.