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Definition of rankle:

  1. To become, or be, rank; to grow rank or strong; to be inflamed; to fester; - used literally and figuratively.
  2. To cause to fester; to make sore; to inflame.
  3. To produce a festering or inflamed effect; to cause a sore; - used literally and figuratively; as, a splinter rankles in the flesh; the words rankled in his bosom.

Synonyms:

roil, fester, pain, storm, erode, nettle, steam up, gall, choke, incense, gnaw at, eat into, provoke, fray, seethe, fret, madden, niggle, lie embedded, ire, hurt, grind, scrape, sizzle, grate, rage, steam, outrage, fuss, eat away, frustrate, mortify, drive someone mad, rub, burn, foam, anger, fume, gag, scratch, rile, tick off.

Usage examples: