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.
madden, nettle, burn, storm, tick off, fuss, pain, anger, outrage, incense, erode, provoke, sizzle, scratch, gall, choke, rage, niggle, ire, eat away, steam up, foam, fray, steam, eat into, rub, fume, fester, gag, drive someone mad, lie embedded, mortify, frustrate, gnaw at, seethe, grind, roil, hurt, rile, scrape
aggravate (part of speech: verb)
inflame, irritate, aggravate, nag, harry, trouble, envenom, disturb, arouse, exasperate, infuriate, exacerbate, grate, harass, tease, perturb, fret, bother, vex, upset, enrage, annoy, torment, antagonize, bait, badger, pester, hassle, peeve, discompose, chafe, irk, bedevil, needle
- She had a high temper herself; but anger did not rankle in her heart for days and days, as it did in Johnny's. - "Dotty Dimple At Home", Sophie May.
- I do not speak of open warfare on stricken fields, or even of pitiless slaughter wrought by those who, when their blood is hot, " do not their work negligently;" but of bitter by- blows, dealt on either side, such as humanity cannot lightly forget or forgive- of passions roused, that will rankle savagely long after this generation shall be dust. - "Border and Bastille", George A. Lawrence.
- But what they had done to his little mother, that would rankle and turn in his heart forever. - "The Shepherd of the North", Richard Aumerle Maher.