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[ran-sid] /ˈræn sɪd/
having a rank, unpleasant, stale smell or taste, as through decomposition, especially of fats or oils:
rancid butter.
(of an odor or taste) rank, unpleasant, and stale:
a rancid smell.
offensive or nasty; disagreeable.
Origin of rancid
1640-50; < Latin rancidus rank, stinking, equivalent to ranc(ēre) to be rotten + -idus -id4
Related forms
rancidly, adverb
rancidness, rancidity, noun
unrancid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rancid
  • There was a strong smell of coffee grounds, a stink of rancid meat.
  • The sickly sweet odor of rancid juice boxes, stacked in waist-high bales, made a visitor's eyes water.
  • The purpose of refining vegetable oil is to remove unwanted gums that make the oils rancid.
  • Reality has the potential to strike anyone, even if they eat cake instead of rancid bread.
  • The entire body is rubbed with a cream, which consists of rancid butterfat and ochre powder.
  • rancid means unpleasant odor due to spoilage of fatty foods.
  • Enzyme breakdown is smelly-a lipase working on grease can be particularly rancid.
  • Raw nuts also turn rancid more quickly than roasted nuts.
  • Milk products and oils go rancid in the compost pile and may draw pests.
  • Be sure to clean that container before refilling each time, so you won't end up adding good oil to rancid remainders.
British Dictionary definitions for rancid


(of butter, bacon, etc) having an unpleasant stale taste or smell as the result of decomposition
(of a taste or smell) rank or sour; stale
Derived Forms
rancidity (rænˈsɪdɪtɪ), rancidness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin rancidus rank, from rancēre to stink
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rancid

1640s, from Latin rancidus "rank, stinking, offensive" (also source of Italian rancido, Spanish rancio), from rancere "be spoiled or rotten," of unknown origin. German ranzig is from French rancide. Related: Rancidness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rancid in Medicine

rancid ran·cid (rān'sĭd)
Having the disagreeable odor or taste of decomposing oils or fats.

ran·cid'i·ty or ran'cid·ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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