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Do we have any other word which can replace "rancorous" in the following sentence, so that the final statement should sound natural:

It had been a spiteful encounter where each glove impact was welcomed with rancorous applause.

I have tried to check following combinations on Google, but couldn't find even 10% of the results that I found for "rancorous applause".

hateful applause, spiteful applause, resentful applause

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Rancorous applause is actually pretty good, in my opinion. I personally like it more than the other options you listed. It also happens to sound good (nice meter to it), which is important in certain types of writing such as fiction or magazine pieces. So I'm not sure what you mean by "natural"? If you mean more ordinary, then hateful might work fine for you. I wonder if it's really possible to have resentful applause -- I'm having trouble picturing it.

Looking at a thesaurus page for rancor (http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/rancor), there are a couple of possibilities that stick out for me:

hostile applause

venomous applause

Ultimately, if the meaning is extremely important, you should choose the synonym that is the most accurate. (Take the time to look up the words in the dictionary.) I personally think rancorous applause and venomous applause are colorful, poignant phrases that will make your writing memorable to the reader.

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