Spanish Word of the Day Archive
Friday September 27, 2013

rancio, adjective:
ancient, old-established; matured; rancid

Rancio is a word which appears to mean two almost opposite things. What links these two meanings, though, is the idea of time and age. On the one hand, it’s the term which is generally used to emphasize the ancient pedigree of a family, tradition, and so forth:

Pertenece a la más rancia aristocracia andaluza.
He is a member of the oldest-established Andalusian aristocracy.

un editor británico de rancia tradición
an old-established British publisher

It can also be used of food that is mature:

alcachofas con tocino rancio
artichokes with matured bacon

On the other hand, it refers to food and smells which are extremely unpleasant or rancid:

un olor rancio a sudor
a rancid smell of sweat

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